Full of holes

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

I did not need satellite images to prove there were no “seven or eight Filipino boats that besieged Yuemaobinyu 42212” as claimed by the Chinese foreign ministry, 42212 “collided” with FB Gem-vir 1 as it was fleeing the Filipino boats, again as the Chinese are telling it. Gem-vir 1 sank after the hit, and as our fishermen were floundering in the water, 42212 simply turned around, switched off its lights and left, again supposedly in fear of the “seven or eight Filipino boats”. Nobody is buying their story which is full of holes and stinks of deniability of accountability. Obvious handwashing. If anything, their story has insulted and angered the people even more.

If there were that many Filipino fishing boats “besieging 42212”, then those very boats should have been the ones who rescued the fishermen. A Vietnamese fishing boat eventually did after two hours. Professor Jay Batongbacal provided satellite images via visible infrared imaging radiometer suite data on the night of the incident showed only a few fishing vessels operating in the area of Reed Bank at the time of the incident, instantly debunking the Chinese narrative. And really, Filipino fishing boats besieging a Chinese trawler? With Chinese coast guard ships in the area all the time, no Filipino fishing boat would dare do something as ridiculous as that. Like I said, full of holes. It only shows just how low the Chinese think of Filipinos, that they would think we would actually buy their story. Perhaps they think that because we have “ghost dialysis”, then we would also have “ghost fishing boats”.

Senator Gordon wants an extradition case filed with the International Maritime Organization regarding the hit-and-run incident. China has clearly violated the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea and other maritime safety laws. The DFA has fired off a diplomatic protest against China. Many senators have equally ridiculed their story and condemned the actions of 42212, particularly not rescuing the fishermen of the sinking boat. Will China even care about all the actions being taken by the country? If they ignored the decision of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, surely they will ignore these as well. They claim to own practically the whole South China Sea so they can say they can do anything, including ramming fishing boats of other countries that compete with their own.

There are groups calling on the public to be calm and exercise restraint, in order not to affect the relations between the Philippines and China. If China only owned up to the cowardly and unacceptable actions of 42212, then we would be singing a different tune. But if China continues to feed us with the baloney – Maling would be more appropriate – then we must now stand our ground. We must not be pacified by “more investments”, which I believe this administration is protecting. President Duterte has yet to issue any statement on the incident, leaving Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo to provide the sentiments of the Palace. If China is besieged by criticisms left and right, especially if the international community chimes in then it might take an aggressive stance. I doubt they would admit being in the wrong, especially if 42212 actually has orders to ram any fishing boat in the area. They may have already succeeded in scaring off other fishing boats to fish in the area because of what 42212 did.

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