Lorenzana: Sinking of Filipinos’ fishing boat an accident
MANILA, Philippines – The sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea was an accident, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday.
“I think it’s just an accident based on the information we got from the crew. Siguro hindi sinasadya ng kabila na nasagi nila (I think it was unintentional) he told reporters in a press briefing in Manila.
His condemnation of the Chinese crew for abandoning the distressed Filipino at sea, however, remains.
“My denouncing stays. I denounce the ship captain for abandonment… If you read my [statement], collision ang nakalagay dun hindi ko sinabi na binangga because I was very careful because di natin alam,” he said.
Lorenzana announced the June 9 “collision” of the Philippine fishing boat and the Chinese fishing vessel on June 12.
He condemned the Chinese vessel’s crew for abandoning the 22 distressed Filipino fishermen and crewmembers in open sea after the incident.
The Filipinos accused the Chinese crew members of intentionally ramming their boat.
After almost a week of silence on the issue, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dismissed the incident as a “little maritime accident.”
“We can change our minds if new facts will come,” Lorenzana said.
He also appealed to the public for patience as the investigation continues.
“We are asking the people to be patient kasi may ginagawa naman kami dito,” he said. /gsg