De Lima criticizes gov’t treatment of Filipino fishermen
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima slammed Thursday the way Filipino fishermen appeared to have been pressured to follow the government’s line on the Recto Bank incident.
“Halatang pinwersa at diniktahan ang mga mangingisda na sumakay na lamang sa linya ng gobyerno (It is obvious that the fishermen have been pressured to ride on the government’s line),” De Lima said after the captain of the Filipino fishing boat reportedly sunk by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea wavered on whether the incident was intentional or not.
Junel Insigne, captain of the F/B GEM-VIR 1, said in a press conference that he was no longer sure whether the Chinese vessel deliberately rammed their boat or not. He said this after a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
De Lima criticized how the fishermen were “lined up like criminals” during the press conference as police in full gear surrounded them.
“The Chinese puppets of the Duterte government have become the puppeteers to their own countrymen,” she said.
“Ganito na kagarapal ang pagtataksil ng mga opisyales ng gobyerno. Masakit iwan na palutang-lutang sa gitna ng dagat ng mga banyagang mapagsamsam. Pero higit na kalunus-lunos na ipatapon sa dagat ng sariling gobyerno na kumampi pa sa banyaga,” the senator added.
(This is how our government officials can betray us. It’s not easy to be abandoned at sea by people who want to take advantage. But it is even more difficult to be abandoned by your government who sided with the foreigners.)
However, De Lima assured that the fishermen have the support of the Filipino nation in this fight.
“Sa mga mangigisda ng Gem-Vir, nakakasiguro kayo, pinagkanulo man kayo ng mga pinuno ng ating bansa, hinding-hindi kayo iiwan ng inyong mga kababayan. Kasama ninyo ang buong sambayanang Pilipino sa laban na ito,” she said.
(To the fishermen of Gem-Vir, the leaders of our country betrayed you, but our countrymen will never leave you. The Filipino people are with you in this fight.)
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol had denied that the fishermen were intimidated during his meeting with them and that the speculations were “unfair.”
He also noted that he was not aware of the presence of the police in their meeting as he did not ask for security escorts. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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