Piñol says photo of submerged Filipino vessel real
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol clarified that the photo of the submerged Filipino fishing boat involved in the incident with a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea was real.
Piñol made the statement amid claims of “conspiracy theorists” that the incident was staged and that the photos of the submerged vessel and the photo of the boat pulled from the sea after the incident did not match.
“I am making this statement in response to posts made by ‘conspiracy theorists’ who claim that the Recto Bank incident where a Chinese vessel rammed the Filipino fishing boat was stage-managed to fan a conflict between the Philippines and China,” Piñol said in a Facebook post.
“Comments made by self-proclaimed maritime experts pointed out that the ‘camarote’ of the half-submerged vessel shown in the picture is white while that of the F/B GEM-VER 1 had blue lines,” he added.
Citing the main witness of the incident, cook Richard Blaza, Piñol said the “camarote” was covered by a tarpaulin that serves as roof for crew members who sleep there at night, making it appear white while submerged at sea.
A clearer photo of the submerged vessel was also submitted which shows the last three letters of the vessel’s name.
Stop the lies!PHOTO OF SUNKEN BOAT REAL,SAYS F/B GEM-VER FISHERMANThe sunken fishing boat and the "real" F/B…
“The sunken fishing boat and the ‘real’ F/B GEM-VER shown in separate photos are one and the same,” Piñol said.
“With these new photos, I hope the ‘conspiracy theorists’ will stop feeding the public with misleading versions of the Recto Bank incident,” he added.
In an earlier Facebook post, Piñol also clarified information regarding the incident.
Piñol also clarified that the vessel indeed sunk, but an investigation would identify the incident was an “an accidental collision or intentional ramming.”
“Yes [the vessel sunk], the captain and the crew said they had to jump into the water because their boat sank. A photo gathered by BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) Director Elizer Salilig showed a sunken F/B GEN-VER 1 with its bow jutting out of the water.
Rescuers later refloated the boat and repaired its damaged tailfin,” Piñol said.
Following the incident, Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) assisted the affected fishermen.
“They also asked for help to avail of the fishing boats grant under President Duterte’s F/B Pagbabago Program where poor fishing families are provided with boats and fishing gears. The DA-BFAR will schedule the distribution of the fishing boats very soon,” Piñol said.
Meanwhile, he said they submitted an official report to President Rodrigo Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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