Recto Bank collision an ‘accident’, not armed attack – Lorenzana
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana maintained that the incident in Recto Bank involving the Chinese vessel, Yuemaobinyu 42212 and the Filipino fishing vessel, F/B GEM-VER 1 on June 9 was not an armed attack but only an accident.
“I think it’s just an accident based on the information we got from some of the crew. Siguro hindi rin sinasadya ng kabila (Perhaps it was not intentional),” Lorenzana said.
Since it was such, Lorenzana said he agrees with Malacañang that the Philippines cannot insist its mutual defense treaty with the United States to deal with the present issue because such treaty applies only to armed conflicts.
Lorenzana was the first to disclose the report on a Chinese vessel hitting and sinking a Filipino fishing vessel in the contested area in the West Philippine Sea.
The Defense Chief condemned the Chinese crewmen for abandoning the 22 Filipino fishermen adrift at sea while struggling to survive.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through Secretary Teddy Locsin, has already elevated the matter to the International Maritime Office (IMO).
But though Lorenzana supported Locsin for that matter, the Defense Secretary said the Philippine government can only act once all the needed information is gathered specifically China’s official statement on the incident.
For now, the government is pursuing a case against the Chinese crewmen for abandoning the Filipino fishermen which, the Secretary said, is a violation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which the Philippines and China are both signatories.
While waiting for China’s side on the matter, Secretary Lorenzana appeals to the public to be patient as the government works on resolving the issue while extending assistance to the affected fishermen.
“I ask our countrymen to be patient dahil lalabas naman talaga ang totoo kapag nakuha na natin ang lahat ng (the truth will come out once we have all) information so that we can move on from this,” he said. (with details from April Cenedoza)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.
The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).
China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.
From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.
Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.
Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.
The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.
That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.
“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.
“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.
Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.
Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.
Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte will explain his decision on allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippine waters during his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
The chief executive said he will explain why his decision was not unconstitutional.
“Maybe during SONA, I will educate people. By any stretch of imagination, hindi unconstitutional iyong ginawa ko (what I did was not unconstitutional). As a matter of fact, it was in keeping with the law,” he said.
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