Close  

Recto Bank incident violation of UNCLOS? Still premature to tell – Palace

/ 04:03 PM June 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — It is “premature” to say that the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea is a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement after Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said what happened at Recto (Reed) Bank was a “clear violation” of UNCLOS as it demonstrates China’s failure to prevent its fishing vessels from fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

ADVERTISEMENT

READ: Carpio sees Sino militia at work, urges ‘strong signal’ to China

“Premature! Premature pa nga kasi hindi pa natin alam ang facts,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

FEATURED STORIES

Last Thursday, however, Panelo said in a statement that he Chinese crewmen who abandoned the sinking Filipino boat F/B Gem-Vir 1 and its fishermen at Recto Bank should be held accountable as it was a violation of maritime protocols.

According to the local fishermen, they were abandoned and left floating in open sea for hours after a Chinese vessel rammed their anchored boat. But the Chinese Embassy in Manila denied that the Chinese vessel hit and abandoned F/B Gem-Vir 1 and its crewmen.

READ: ‘Chinese crew’s desertion of distressed fishermen a violation of maritime protocols’

READ: China: No such thing as hit-and-run incident

“Ang alam natin…initially alam natin iniwan tapos they [Chinese] are disclaiming it, eh ‘di may problema na naman tayo. Buti sana kung inamin nilang iniwan, then that’s a violation (of UNCLOS),” Panelo explained.

“Hintayin muna natin. He (Carpio) will be right kung talagang iniwan ‘yung mga Pilipino,” he added.

Panelo also rejected as mere “speculation” Vice President Leni Robredo’s call to hold accountable the Chinese vessel crew before a Philippine court.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That’s another speculation. Hindi pa nga natin alam eh… ‘yun ang mga kasama sa mga premature (remarks). Hindi pa natin alam ang facts, so let’s wait for the facts considering that our initial facts, which were relayed to us, were being disputed,” he said.

READ: VP wants PH trial for Chinese crew in sea collision

The Palace official likewise defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed “silence” over the issue.

The outspoken Duterte, according to Panelo, is just waiting for the facts to set in before making any pronouncement.

“He’s not silent. He’s waiting for the facts to set in before making any declaration,” said Panelo, who also serves as Duterte’s chief legal counsel.

More than a week since the incident at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, Duterte has yet to publicly address the issue.

READ: No public condemnation from Duterte after sinking of Filipino boat in West PH Sea

(Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, Conflict, Diplomacy, EEZ, Fishing, Gem-Vir 1, Global Nation, Local news, Malacañang, Nation, national news, news, Philippine news updates, Philippines, Recto Bank, Reed Bank, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, West Philippine Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.