'Collision' at West PH Sea: File protest vs Beijing, Duterte admin told

'Collision' at West PH Sea: File protest vs Beijing, Duterte admin told

An aerial view shows an islet in the disputed Spratly Group of Islands, in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte should file a diplomatic protest against China following the “collision” between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino fishing boat in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares made this call, prodding the Duterte government to refrain from treating the incident lightly.

“Kailangang ipagtanggol ng pamahalaan ang mga Pilipinong mangingisda at ‘di dapat umubra ang ginagawang ito ng Tsina. Dapat din maimbestigahan kung Chinese fishing boat nga ba talaga ito o baka naman Chinese militia,” Colmenares said in a statement.

Zarate, for his part, called for more coast guard patrols in the West Philippine Sea, as well as joint patrols with Vietnam and Malaysia and other claimants of areas in the South China Sea to counter China’s aggression.

In a statement also on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared that a Chinese boat abandoned a Filipino vessel after hitting it on the evening of June 9, Sunday. A Vietnamese fishing vessel in the vicinity rescued the 22 Filipino fishermen aboard while the Philippine Navy’s BRP Ramon Alcaraz assisted the recovery of the boat and its crew. 

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin described the incident as a “highly irresponsible on the part of the Chinese government through its maritime militia disguised as fishing vessels to physically harm Filipino fisherman within our own waters.”

“Ironically happening during our Independence Day celebration, it is a cause for alarm and international condemnation,” Villarin added.

The opposition lawmaker also warned that the same is bound to happen if the government fails to assert the country’s rights and legitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)