Solons call for probe

TWO party-list solons strongly condemned the ramming of Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel, endangering the lives of the 22 fishermen within the Recto Bank  vicinity.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao are demanding a thorough investigation of the incident and diplomatic protests against China government.

Alejano said these acts of the Chinese boat captain and its crew are condemnable because they did not only sink the Filipino boat, but they also abandoned its crew to the harsh conditions in the West Philippine Sea.

“The actions of the Chinese indicate that they intended to do harm to the Filipino fishermen especially since the latter were allegedly anchored. It is aimed to send a message to the rest to keep off the West Philippine Sea. The said Chinese vessel involved in the incident that happened inside the Philippines’ EEZ could be part of China’s Maritime Militia organized to pursue China’s objectives in South China Sea,” Alejano said.

The solon said Filipino fishermen should not back down, but they should be given all the support they need from the government, Alejano said.

“I call on our government forces to increase means to monitor the West Philippine Sea particularly our fishermen during times of emergency. Large Filipino fishing vessels must be provided with communication equipment to ensure direct contact with our Coast Guard and Navy. Fishermen fishing in the West Philippine Sea must also be provided training by our Coast Guard or Navy for any contingency at sea instead of advising them not to sail in our waters,” he added.

For his part, Casilao urged President Rodrigo Duterte to personally issue a national condemnation of the incident. Malacañang is pressing the Chinese government to sanction the perpetrator and denounce the violation of international law.