^

Headlines

Duterte silent? Just cautious – Palace

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Duterte silent? Just cautious â Palace
“The President is a very cautious man. If you noticed, he makes calibrated responses,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “Depending on the incidents. When the President speaks, they are intentional to get some desired effects or sometimes as he calls it, he shakes the tree for reactions,” he added.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang defended yesterday President Duterte’s silence on the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel on Sunday in Recto Bank, saying he was just being “cautious.”

“The President is a very cautious man. If you noticed, he makes calibrated responses,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.  “Depending on the incidents. When the President speaks, they are intentional to get some desired effects or sometimes as he calls it, he shakes the tree for reactions,” he added.

Only Panelo, defense chief Delfin Lorenzana and foreign affairs chief Teodoro Locsin Jr. have so far issued statements on the Recto Bank incident, and these were mainly condemnation of the Chinese for leaving the 22 Filipino fishermen floundering in the water. Vietnamese fishermen rescued the Filipinos hours later.

On Twitter, Locsin also defended the President’s not speaking about the issue.

“Hey, that’s my job and military intelligence even as I’ve fired a diplomatic protest on available evidence. It is our job to stick our necks out first. Or what are we here for?” he wrote.

Last Thursday, Panelo said the Philippines may cut ties with Beijing if it would be proven that the Chinese vessel had intentionally hit the Filipino fishing vessel.

He said he hopes it’s not China’s strategy to sink foreign vessels that it thinks are intruding into its territory.

“Well I hope not, I hope not. That would be very dangerous if that is… that has been the plan of the Chinese government. Because can you imagine if they will be doing that to every country that they feel are against them?” 

He said the Chinese failure or refusal to rescue the Filipino fishermen is an offense under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

“What we are focusing on is on the act of abandoning, not the collision itself, because collisions happen in the high seas. But the act of abandoning is in violation of the UNCLOS,” Panelo said on ANC. 

“You don’t even need an international law provision on that. It’s a human act of lending hand to somebody in distress,” Panelo said.

He stressed the Philippines is not politicizing the issue and that filing of a diplomatic protest is part of the response of the government. 

“That’s precisely why we gave a diplomatic protest to them and we are waiting for a response,” he said, praising Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianjua for his “responsible response.” Panelo revealed Zhao’s promise to “seriously investigate the incident.”

“But regardless of whether it was intentional or not, our point is you cannot abandon people who are in distress. That’s barbaric as far as we are concerned,” he said.

He emphasized the administration is “not going to sit idly and just watch,” as it probes deeper into the incident. “We are against it, we are condemning it,” he said.

‘We’ve done all we can’

Locsin, on Twitter, said the government has done all it can to address the matter.

He shared a news report on China’s commitment to seriously investigate the matter, telling Sen. Risa Hontiveros “that this is what (she) asked for,” apparently referring to the latter’s call for a probe of the incident.

“We’ve done all we can from this end including firing a diplomatic protest after getting the lowdown from the 22 fishermen,” the DFA chief said.

In response, Hontiveros expressed gratitude to Locsin for keeping the public informed, saying they need a foreign policy that is both transparent and decisive.

“Hope government will keep up the pressure in delivering justice to our fisherfolk and securing our sovereignty,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called on the government to assert the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

“We believe that asserting our sovereignty and the right of our fishers to rightfully gain economically from the resources found off the coast of Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, a country’s exclusive economic zone, protects our people’s right to self-determination,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

“Not only does the exercise of this right underscore the parity of peoples in rights and opportunity, but also serves as a guiding principle for other nations to respect others’ sovereignty and international political status,” she added. – With Paolo Romero, Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan

CHINESE VESSEL FILIPINO FISHING BOAT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with