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Duterte Cabinet to meet over vessel collision in Recto Bank

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

The fishing vessel, F/B GEM-VIR1, that was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel at Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea on June 9, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed the scheduled meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security, justice and peace cluster together with the economic development cluster on Monday (June 17).

The discussion will center on the sea collision that happened between a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat which resulted to the sinking of the latter endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

The Prsesident, however, will not be in attendance as he has a prior appointment.

Nograles said they will keep the President informed on whatever will transpire during the emergency meeting.

The meeting will also include the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). — mnp / with reports from Rosalie Coz

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Phl must reject ‘lopsided’, ‘unconstitutional’ verbal deal with China – Carpio

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes that the Philippines must set aside and reject what he calls as a “lopsided” and “unconstitutional” verbal agreement it forged with China.

The court official also expressed his agreement with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. when the latter said in an interview that only the Philippines is allowed to fish in Philippine waters.

Justice Carpio, in a statement, said there is no official policy that allows China to fish in Reed Bank (locally known as Recto Bank).

“Secretary Locsin knows that there is no recorded minutes of the so-called verbal agreement between President Xi and President Duterte allowing the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank in exchange for Filipinos fishing in Scarborough Shoal,” said Carpio.

The Senior Associate Justice added, “Any such verbal agreement, if confirmed by the Philippine government, will bind the Philippines to allow the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank for as long as China allows Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal.”

Carpio also underscored the difference between Reed Bank which is 8,660 sq. km in area, and Scarborough Shoal which is only 150 sq. km in area; emphasizing that “Filipinos can fish only outside the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal, not inside the lagoon which is the rich fishing area.”

He also noted that China has the largest fishing fleet in the world with huge modern trawlers, comparing it with the Philippines whose Filipino fishermen only have wooden boats with outriggers. 

“The Chinese can deplete the fish in Reed Bank very quickly,” he stressed.

Justice Carpio also pointed out that the verbal agreement, aside from being clearly against the Constitution, is so lopsided it should be rejected by the Philippine government.

Reed Bank is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Under the Constitution, the use and enjoyment of the fish and other natural resources within Philippine EEZ is reserved exclusively for Filipinos,” Justice Carpio further said. (with reports from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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China rejects third-party probe on Recto Bank incident – Palace

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – China has rejected the proposed involvement of a third party in the investigation into the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank), Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Beijing does not see any need for a third-party investigation as the issue can be resolved through the joint probe.

“Nag-offer sila ng joint investigation, tapos inaccept ni presidente, tapos may third party, ang sabi naman nila, wag nang third party, kailangan tayo na lang mag-usap duon,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he is okay with having a third-party probe even after as he accepted Beijing’s offer for a joint investigation into the maritime incident.

On June 9, a Chinese boat rammed into a Filipino fishing vessel and abandoned its 22 crew members at sea.

The president described the incident as a little maritime accident, saying the Filipino boat was sideswiped and not rammed.

Although a preliminary report was already handled by the agencies tasked to investigate the matter, Duterte said he has yet to reveal its contents as he is still awaiting China’s official report on the incident.

READ: Duterte says Filipino fishing boat was sideswiped, not rammed in Recto Bank

Panelo said China also suggested the creation of respective task groups which would meet and exchange results of separate investigations conducted.           

“Dapat immediately, since they are suggesting the creation of task force, dapat mag-create na tayo ng task force,” he said.

“In fact, I intend to tell the president pagdating mamaya sa cabinet meeting,” he added.

The Palace official, however, stressed the Philippine could always push for a third-party probe should the two countries fail to agree on the findings.

He also believes there will be no serious disagreements between the two parties.

“Kasi sinabi na nila na kailangang maresolve na natin ito. Nasisira ang relasyon natin dahil dito, kailangang ayusin na natin ito. Yung sinasabi mong mag-iinsist, di tayo magi-insist. Isa-suggest natin, kung halimbawang di tayo magkasundo, pwede ba humanap tayo ng 3rd party,” he said.

Panelo also allayed fears on China’s possible manipulation of probe results, vowing to hold accountable the Chinese crew should they be found guilty of abandonment charges. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Carpio on Duterte’s remarks, ‘not worth a comment’

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is unaffected by President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark calling him “stupid” for his stance on the issue of allowing Chinese fishermen in Philippine waters.

On Wednesday, Duterte called out Carpio after the latter said it would be unconstitutional to allow Chinese fishermen to exhaust the country’s resources.

“Napaka-istupido mo. That is why hanggang diyan ka lang talaga,” Duterte said.

Caprio meanwhile, said the president’s remarks is “not worth a comment”.—AAC

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