FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday said he has filed a diplomatic protest after a Chinese fishing vessel sank an anchored Philippine fishing boat with 22 Filipino crewmen over the weekend at Reed Bank (Recto Bank) in the West Philippine Sea.
“I fired off a diplomatic protest yesterday (Wednesday),” Locsin tweeted.
Locsin’s tweet was in response to a statement of outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on the incident.
Trillanes recommended to Locsin to bring the incident to the Maritime Safety Committee since both the Philippines and China are State Parties to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“The Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO is it; but, Sonny, I will proceed on the merits of the case and what it calls for while the matter is studied by the IMO. Even our ally failed us in Scarborough, remember?” Locsin replied to Trillanes.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese fishing vessel was “far from accidental’ because they left the Filipinos after the incident.
A Philippine Defense official said the Filipinos were then rescued by a Vietnamese boat that came within minutes.
CUT DIPLOMATIC TIES?
The Philippines may end up cutting diplomatic ties with China if the “collision” at the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea was done intentionally, Malacañang said Thursday.
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo noted that the incident in Recto Bank that placed 22 Filipino crewmen of FB Gimber 1 in danger, could be considered an act of “aggression” if proven to be intentional.
“We will cut off diplomatic relations ‘yan ang unang ginagawa kapag mayroong mga aggressive acts,” Panelo said.
“Magdi-diplomatic protest ka. Kung hindi ka kuntento sa paliwanag nila at nakita natin na talagang sinadya e ibang usapan na ‘iyon,” he added.
The Palace official pointed out that even the country is taking “calibrated” steps in dealing with the issue, the government “will not allow ourselves to be assaulted, to be bullied, to be the subject of such barbaric, uncivilized and outrageous actions from any source.”
The Philippines recently put its diplomatic relations with Canada in peril over the latter’s delay in taking back their garbage it illegally shipped to the country six years ago.
President Duterte even threatened to declare war if Canada failed to retake its trash which had been festering in Philippine ports.
Based on the Chief Executive’s action, Panelo said the Philippines may undertake “more severe” steps over the Recto Bank incident. He said China has yet to reach out to the Philippines over the issue.
With Efren Montano