DND: Chinese ship hit, sank PH vessel in West PH Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2019   •   3154

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday revealed that a Philippine boat sank on Sunday night (June 9) following a collision with a Chinese vessel in the waters off the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denounced the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for leaving the scene immediately after the collision, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen onboard the F/B GIMVER1.

“We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the scene of the incident, abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements,” Lorenzana said.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” he added.

According to Lorenzana, the F/B GIMVER1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.

A Vietnamese fishing vessel in the area rescued the Filipino crew in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command.

“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew,” the defense chief said.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was in the area for a routine maritime patrol, has been tasked to assist in the recovery of the vessel and its crew.

Lorenzana also called for a formal investigation into the incident and requested concerned agencies to take diplomatic steps against China.

“We call for the conduct of a formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident,” he said.

The Philippines and China have long been involved in a maritime dispute over territories in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Duterte tells China: Back off from Pag-asa island

Hundreds of suspected Chinese maritime militia boats have also been spotted in the disputed waterways in the past months, which have made headlines amid the territorial row between Manila and Beijing.

Help pours in as death toll in Mindanao quake reaches 21

Maris Federez   •   November 3, 2019

The number of confirmed deaths in the wake of the magnitude 6.6 and 6.5 quakes that struck Mindanao in the past weeks has reached 21.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), most number of fatalities was recorded in Cotabato with nine deaths caused by the magnitude 6.6 tremor and another nine in the magnitude 6.5 quake.

Davao del Sur, on the other hand, registered three deaths caused by the 6.6 quake.

The NDRRMC data also showed 432 individuals sustaining injuries due to the tremor; 301 of which are in Region XII, 117 in Region XI, 14 in Region X, and 1 in BARMM.

The council also confirmed that the temblor that hit the southern part of Mindanao had affected around 35,000 families or around 178,000 individuals in 200 barangays.

Several groups from the public and private sectors, including the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Task Force Tabang Mindanao and the Coast Guard District South Eastern Mindanao, had extended assistance to the affected families.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Saturday (November 2) directed the Department of National Defense (DND) to lead all relief efforts and to ensure safety and security of the public in the earthquake stricken areas of Mindanao.

Medialdea also advised the public “to coordinate directly with the DND and/or the NDRRMC to ensure the efficient conduct of relief efforts, including the distribution of relief goods and rescue operations.” (with details from Rosalie Coz and Davao Correspondent Janice Ingente) /mbmf

DND: ‘Green Aura’ issue must not be blown out of proportion

Maris Federez   •   November 3, 2019

A fisherman repairs his boat overlooking fishing boats that fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, at Masinloc, Zambales, in the Philippines April 22, 2015. REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Sunday (November 3) downplayed reports in certain news outlets that a commercial vessel with Filipino crew aboard, the “Green Aura”, was repeatedly challenged by Chinese Coast Guard vessels near Bajo de Masinloc on September 30, 2019.

In a statement, the DND said, “Since the Green Aura, a Liberian ship, was able to safely reach its intended port of destination unimpeded, we believe that what happened should not be blown out of proportion or sensationalized.”

The defense department further said that an official report of the incident has been forwarded to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) for its appropriate action.

The DND has also reiterated its call “for all countries to exercise prudence and respect freedom of navigation and passage in the WPS.”

It stressed that Bajo de Masinloc is well within the Philippine EEZ and that the 2016 arbitral ruling declared it as a common fishing area.

The DND also called on the Chinese government to “respect international maritime laws if it wants to earn the respect of the international community.” (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

DND wants exemption from ban on loans, grants from countries supporting probe on PH killings

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2019

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) will appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the agency from the Chief Executive’s suspension of any financial assistance from 18 countries that support the call for a probe into drug-related killings under the administration’s war on drugs.

During the Senate deliberation on the DND’s proposed budget for 2020, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opened up the said request by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana discussed the matter with several senators, specifically the ongoing negotiation with the government of Australia regarding the procurement of patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy amounting to P30-B.

“We are currently in talks with the Australian government for them to build our six offshore patrol vessels and they are willing to finance it first,” he said.

The Defense Secretary said they are planning to send a formal appeal to the President about the matter citing such suspension of loans, aids and grants will hugely affect the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the President is keen on reviewing the said request of the DND.

Panelo hinted that President Duterte might hear out and approve the request especially as it concerns the country’s national security. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

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