Occidental Mindoro mayor hopes Duterte will make a statement on sinking of Philippine boat
President Rodrigo Duterte salutes the honor guards as he leads the wreath-laying ceremony at the bust of Dr. Jose Rizal as part of the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019.
Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano

Occidental Mindoro mayor hopes Duterte will make a statement on sinking of Philippine boat

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - June 14, 2019 - 3:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — The mayor of the municipality of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro is hopeful that President Rodrigo Duterte himself will comment on the sinking of a Filipino fishing vessel in the West Philippine Sea.

A suspected Chinese trawler rammed into the Filipino boat last Sunday, leaving the latter to sink near the Recto Bank within the country's exclusive economic zone.

The 22 Filipino crewmembers of F/B GIMVER 1 are expected to arrive at Occidental Mindoro on Friday.

San Jose Mayor Romulo Festin said he is hoping the national government would handle the situation in such a way that it would not happen again.

"May tiwala naman tayo sa national government. Unang-una, declared naman ng president na 'di tayo pwedeng lumaban ng gyera so we have to accept that reality. Pero siguro 'yung boses natin siguro 'wag mapigilan na," Festin told reporters.

Festin also decried the incident, which he called "bullying" by the Chinese vessel as it appears to have been intentional.

"Talagang inano tayo doon na-bully tayo," Festin said, noting that the offending vessel did not even stop to assist the distressed Filipino fisherfolk as their watercraft was sinking.

Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato (Occidental Mindoro) also urged Duterte and other government officials to take immediate action over the incident.

The lawmaker stressed that the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea is a violation of the country's territorial integrity.

"The allision of the Chinese vessel with our boat from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro was unprovoked and must not be tolerated by the Philippine government. Putting the lives of 22 of our fishermen at risk is reprehensible and cannot go unanswered," Sato said in a statement.

Duterte has been silent on the issue since Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana released a statement on condemning the Chinese vessel for immediately leaving the scene after the collision.

Malacañang only released a statement a day after Lorenzana's statement, calling for an investigation into the collision and to impose proper sanctions on the crew of the offending vessel.

"Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel," Panelo said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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