F/B GimVer 1, which was hit by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea, has been towed to the shores of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
PCG/Released
Captain of boat sank by Chinese forgoes Duterte meeting
(Philstar.com) - June 17, 2019 - 8:55am

MANILA, Philippines — The captain of a Filipino fishing boat rammed by a Chinese vessel will no longer meet with President Rodrigo Duterte, according to a report.

Junel Insigne, captain of F/B GimVer 1, was on his way to Manila on Sunday when his wife called him and told him to return to their home in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, according to a report from radio dzMM.

The captain, along with the owner of the boat, were supposed to meet with Duterte on Monday.

This development comes after a special Cabinet meeting on the sinking of the Philippine boat was canceled.

Duterte and Cabinet members were supposed to discuss the response of the government on the collision of a Chinese vessel and Filipino boat near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that the meeting scheduled Monday was canceled.

On June 12, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana released a statement condemning the actions of a Chinese trawler that rammed the Filipino boat, leaving 22 fishermen "to the mercy of the elements."

The Filipino boat was anchored and stationary when it was hit by the Chinese ship, which immediately left the scene after the collision.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila, meanwhile, claimed that the captain of the offending vessel attempted to rescue the Filipino fishermen but "was suddenly besieged by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats."

Beijing had also called out Manila for supposedly politicizing the incident without verification.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang called the collision in the West Philippine Sea as "an ordinary maritime traffic accident."

The Philippine Navy contradicted the remarks of China, pointing out that the Filipino fishing vessel was anchored when the incident occurred.

"The ship was rammed. This is not a normal maritime accident," Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

CHINA RECTO BANK SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 8, 2019 - 1:04pm

Updates in the aftermath of the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a suspected Chinese trawler.

July 8, 2019 - 1:04pm

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says there is no contradiction in the Philippine Coast Guard's report that the June 9 Recto Bank incident is a “very serious maritime casualty” and President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier statement that the incident was a "little maritime incident."

"It's serious in the sense that when you leave our countrymen there then that's a serious matter," Panelo explains, adding that even if it is a serious matter "you cannot blow that and make it into an international crisis."

He adds the Philippines will "definitely" seek accountability from China over the allision that sank F/B Gem-Ver 1.

He says China will be the one to decide on how it should deal with or make accountable the crew of the Chinese vessel that left 22 Filipino fishermen after the allision.

June 27, 2019 - 3:10pm

Vice President Leni Robredo says Senate President Tito Sotto's remark on allowing Chinese to fish within the Philippine EEZ as "the fish could be coming from China" is a bit insensitive, especially to Filipino fishermen whose rights are violated.

"Tingin ko, medyo insensitive siya dahil mayroong mga [mangingisda] tayong na-violate iyong kanilang mga karapatan. Para sa akin, at this point, kailangan nating siguruhin na maramdaman noong mga mangingisda na hindi sila iniwan. Maramdaman nila na tayong lahat nagtutulong-tulong para makahanap sila ng hustisya sa sinapit nila," she says.

June 26, 2019 - 8:30am

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio in a statement says the Philippine government cannot allow Chinese fishermen to fish within the country's exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea as it violates the Constitution.

"The Constitution mandates, 'The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its exclusive economic zonem and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens,'" he says.

"This means that the Philippine Government cannot allow Chinese fishermen to fish in our EEZ in the West Philippine Sea. This also means that the 'use and enjoyment' of the fish in our EEZ is reserved exclusively to Filipinos."

 

June 25, 2019 - 8:34pm

More than 200 students, faculty and alumni of the University of the Philippines Visayas – College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences in Miagao, Iloilo have signed a petition condemning the allision at the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea "and the subsequent downplaying of the incident by the Duterte administration."

"We demand full accountability not only on the crew of the Chinese vessel for endangering the lives of the 22 Filipino fisherfolk, but also on the Duterte administration for betraying the trust of our fisherfolk, the constituents whom this government should be protecting and serving," they say in an online petition shared on social media.

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incident but President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials have played the allision down, calling it a "little maritime incident."

Duterte on Monday night said he is sorry that the crew of the F/B Gem-Ver who were left behind by the Chinese vessel after the allision feel "belittled." He explained that China also considers Recto Bank with its jurisdiction despite it being within the Philippines EEZ. 

"Seeing how the government treats the fisheries sector and the fisherfolk, we are inclined to believe that this administration puts the interest of the Chinese first rather than making the Filipino fishers and WPS a priority," the petitioners say.

"Our fisherfolk are among the poorest and most vulnerable sector in the society. Now, more than ever, is the time to stand in solidarity with them and condemn this blatant turncoatism by the Duterte administration. Let us translate our anger into concrete collective action. Hold Duterte and China accountable," they say.

June 24, 2019 - 9:39pm

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterates that the sinking and abaondonment of the crew of F/B Gem-Ver in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea is no reason to send the military to the area, an option that critics of the government's response to the incident are not calling for.

"I'm sorry. But that's how it is. It's a maritime incident. Little in the sense that there was no confrontation, there was no bloody violence," Duterte tells reporters Monday.

He says the incident, and the anger over it, is no reason "to go to any military exercise there."

The president says that would lead to war.

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