Wimpy response

June 17, 2019

Rouse the entire community over a big, bad neighbor who is throwing his heavy weight around.

Is this all we can do?

We are not taking any forceful action on our own to bring the perpetrator to account for the injury inflicted on our kind?

Somehow our perception of the President being the tough guy has been greatly diminished by the administration’s wimpy response to the maritime incident involving what has been described by a lawmaker as a ”hit and run” by a Chinese vessel that resulted in the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat whose crew and catch were left to sink and drown within the country’s territorial waters.

The Philippine government on Saturday asked the international community to protect life at sea in cases of maritime distress following the collision between a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat that sank but was abandoned near the Reed Bank on June 9.

In a statement at the 101st Session of the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization dated June 14, the Philippines noted how the Filipino crew "were callously abandoned to the elements on the rough seas and would have perished" if a Vietnamese vessel did not rescue them.

Delivering the statement, Deputy Permanent Representative to the IMO Senen Mangalile highlighted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the IMO conventions on Safety of Life at Sea and Maritime Search and Rescue have express provisions on rendering assistance to distressed mariners.

"It is the obligation of every responsible member of the UN and the IMO to implement these conventions and related codes concerning maritime safety and security, rather than just paying lip service to them," Mangalile stressed.

"It is also our moral obligation to save a human life whenever we can do so," he added.

During the IMO meeting, Mangalile thanked Vietnam on behalf of the Philippine government for the assistance it provided to the 22 distressed Filipino fishermen.

The MSC deals with all matters related to maritime safety and security which falls under the mandate of the IMO.  

In a statement earlier, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the action taken by the crew of the Chinese ship was both unfriendly and cowardly.

Lacson said:

“We don't treat our friends like that, and we don't expect to be treated that way either.

“Nothing short of a hard and serious punitive action by the Chinese leadership against the Chinese crew responsible for the cowardly act against our fishermen could assuage the majority of our countrymen's strong apprehension about the sincerity of China towards us.

“This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of a serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples.”

Our sentiments, exactly.