Filipino fishermen ‘abandoned twice’ — Binay
MANILA, Philippines — The 22 Filipino fishermen aboard the boat rammed and sunk by a Chinese fishing vessel in the West Philippine Sea were “abandoned twice,” Senator Nancy Binay said Wednesday.
She said the fishermen were first abandoned by the Chinese vessel and then by their countrymen because they failed to give “considerable attention” to their accounts.
Binay issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed the Recto Bank incident and called it just a “little maritime accident.” Malacañang also cast doubt on the testimonies of the Filipino fishermen.
The senator also lamented how China downplayed the sinking of the Filipino vessel as an “ordinary maritime accident.”
She noted that it could not have been an ordinary accident at sea since there were many accounts and official reports of similar incidents involving Chinese vessels ramming foreign-flagged fishing boats.
“Mahirap paniwalaan na aksidente yung nangyari dahil maraming beses na itong nangyari di lang sa mga Pilipinong mangingisda, at alam ng ating Navy ‘yan,” Binay said in a statement on Wednesday.
(It is hard to believe that it was an accident because this happened many times and not just to Filipino fishermen. Our Navy knows that.)
“Ang nakakalungkot lang (It is just sad that) China’s statements have overshadowed the testimonies and first-hand accounts of the crew,” she added.
Binay also took issue with the fact that the Chinese vessel left the fishermen out in the open sea after the incident, describing the act as “inhumane and unacceptable.”
“Granting na aksidente nga ang nangyari (Granting that it was indeed an accident), the first thing that comes to mind is to save the lives of those who are hurt or injured — di mo sila basta iiwanan (you don’t abandon them),” she said.
“Malinaw sa (It is clear in) UNCLOS yung duty to rescue. We should call out the Chinese government for abandoning our fishermen. We should seek accountability. Kung tatanggapin na lang natin itong isang aksidente (If we are going to accept this an accident), we just showed the world how we take care of our people,” Binay added. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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