Filipino boat captain laments Duterte’s remark on West PH Sea allision incident
Robie de Guzman • June 18, 2019 • 2643
The captain of the Philippine fishing vessel which was hit by a Chinese ship near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday lamented the remark of President Rodrigo Duterte which seemed to downplay the allision as just a “maritime accident.”
Jonel Insigne said the incident should not be deemed as little and ordinary because the lives of the crew members of the F/B GEM-VIR 1 were endangered when the Chinese vessel rammed into their boat and abandoned them at sea on June 9.
In a speech at an event in Cavite on Monday night, Duterte described the allision as a “little maritime accident” and told the Philippine Navy to stay out of trouble.
“Pero ‘yang nangyari diyan sa banggaan, that is a maritime incident. ‘Wag kayong maniwala sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin ‘yung Navy. You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan, do not make it worse because that’s a fertile ground,” Duterte said.
“Stay out of trouble. Just build on our own. ‘Wag muna tayong makialam. Do not allow a little maritime accident or intentional, go to, pahinga ka muna, pahinga muna kayo,” he added.
But Insigne maintained that the allision was no accident and called on the Chinese crew to just own up to their fault and face the consequence of their actions.
“Bakit hindi pa nila amininin na sila ang bumangga sa amin? Talagang sinadya nila. Tsaka bakit ‘yung pagbangga sa amin, hindi nila kami tinulungan?” Insigne said.
He also insisted that it would be impossible for the Chinese ship not to see them because their vessel was well-lit.
According to Duterte, he will no longer add to his statement about the incident and that he would rather wait for the result of the investigation being conducted by concerned agencies.
“And I do not now issue statement because there is no investigation and there is no result. Then the only thing we can do is to wait and give the other party the right to be heard. Importante ‘yan, eh,” the president said.
Despite Duterte’s remark, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the administration is not belittling the incident. A “strongly-worded” diplomatic protest against China has also been filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In the end, Insigne just appealed to the government for livelihood and financial assistance for the Filipino crew.
The Filipino crew, who were later rescued by Vietnamese fishermen after several hours at sea, also called on authorities to ensure that the Chinese crew will be held accountable. (correspondents Rosalie Coz and Sherwin Culubong contributed to this report)
The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada scolded China on Thursday (May 28) for imposing a new security law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the four countries were “deeply troubled” by the decision of China’s People’s Congress, which democracy activists in Hong Kong fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.
China says the legislation will aim to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city but the plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.
Raab said Britain will give greater visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong unless China suspends the proposed security laws. (Reuters)
China’s National People’s Congress’ third session closed on Thursday (May 28) after parliament members voted on a proposal to implement Hong Kong’s national security legislation.
“The session made a decision to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism for the national security of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region,” chairman of the standing committee of the NPC, Li Zhanshu, told delegates at the closing ceremony.
“It will uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’ policy. It is in line with the Constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law and is in the interest of all Chinese people including Hong Kong people,” he added.
The legislation received 2,878 votes while one voted against and six abstained. The draft national security law has received international criticism with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring that Hong Kong is ‘no longer autonomous.’
Hong Kong, which has freedoms not granted in the mainland such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, has experienced months-long anti-government protests which sparked from a now-withdrawn extradition bill. (Reuters)
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (May 26) that Beijing’s proposed national security laws would not trample on the city’s rights and freedoms and called on its citizens to wait to see the details of the legislation.
Beijing unveiled plans last week for national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in the city.
Thousands poured onto the street of Hong Kong on Sunday (May 24) in a mass protest against the planned new security laws.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested almost 200 people.
More protests are expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday (May 27). (Reuters)
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