Mindoro mayor refutes China’s account of fishing boat incident
MANILA, Philippines – San Jose, Occidental Mindoro Mayor Romulo Festin on Monday said there is no truth to the claim of China that Filipino boats besieged and chased a Chinese vessel that rammed a fishing vessel manned by 22 Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
“Kasinungalingan daw po yan, kasinungalingan po, dahil imposible po na para habulin po sila (Chinese vessel) ng bangka (Filipino boats) dahil 12 to 15 knots daw po yung takbo ng (Chinese) fishing boat…at napakalaking fishing boat,” Festin said in an interview with GMA News’ Unang Balita on Monday.
(It’s a lie. It is impossible for Filipino fishing boats to chase and surround a large Chinese vessel.)
The 22 fishermen are residents or based in the municipality of San Jose.
“Wala hong mga fishermen that time na ganun karami para habulin sila. Yung statement pong binigay ng China na pangangatwiran, yung reasoning nila, eh kinukundena na kasinungalingan po lahat…Wala hong humahabol,” he added.
(There were no Filipino fishermen in the area to give chase. We condemn China’s statement and reasoning, they are lies. No one chased the Chinese vessel.)
The Chinese Embassy in Manila earlier denied that a Chinese vessel rammed a Philippine fishing and abandoned 22 Filipino fishermen.
It claimed that the Chinese fishing vessel was suddenly besieged by seven or eight Philippine fishing boats, and that during the evacuation, the former’s “steel cable on the lighting grid” bumped the Philippine vessel’s pilothouse.
Last June 12, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly condemned what he described a “cowardly action” of the Chinese vessel’s crew
“This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
Lorenzana added that the Filipinos’ fishing boat was anchored at Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea when it was struck by the Chinese vessel Sunday night, June 9.
Instead of helping the distressed Filipinos, Lorenzana said the Chinese fishing vessel sailed away.
“Fortunately, a Vietnamese fishing vessel was in the vicinity, rescued all 22 fishermen, and brought them to safety,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Chinese government is “seriously” and “thoroughly” looking into the reported incident.
Panelo said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua texted him and told him that the Chinese government has already launched an investigation.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has also earlier said the government has already filed a diplomatic protest following the incident. /gsg
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