Collision of vessels in Mindoro nothing to do with South China Sea row — Locsin
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday mocked “idiots in the opposition” who have supposedly turned the collision of a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship and a Philippine fishing boat in Mindoro into a territorial issue.
During an online media forum, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Mindoro collision should not be politicized.
“Obviously this is a commercial vessel,” he said.
“It has nothing to do with the South China Sea. Whether or not China was there, a fishing boat would have been hit by a commercial vessel, especially one that large,” he added.
The cargo vessel MV Vienna Wood, which was bound for Australia, collided with Philippine fishing boat Liberty 5 Sunday near Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
Locsin, meanwhile has vowed that the Department of Foreign Affairs will work with the Department of Justice to help the crew of the Philippine fishing boat in filing a damage claim.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs with the cooperation of the Department of Justice, we’re gonna press claim for them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, who was also present during the forum, said the collision that happened in Mindoro is “no different with any other incidents involving vessels.”
“We should remember that the incident happened in Mindoro, so in-land ito. Like any other incident involving vessels, this is already being investigated by our PPA [Philippine Ports Authority] and our Marina [Maritime Industry Authority] and our DOTr [Department of Transportation] because this is no different with any other incident involving vessels within Philippine territory,” Dulay said.
He stressed that the incident is far from the issues concerning the West Philippine Sea.
“Ang trabaho lang naman diyna really rests on the DOTr because there’s a protocol for vessels. If there’s an incident, we have to report it. There’s an investigation. Malayo po sa West Philippine Sea ito. We have to emphasize that kasi pinopoliticize e. Ginagawang West Philippine Sea,” Dulay said.
Locsin then butted in, saying: “So wait, in other words, those idiots in the opposition are trying to turn Mindoro into the open sea?”
Dulay interjected: “Because it’s a Hong Kong vessel.”
“In other words, it is now possible now for China to extend its nine-dash line in Mindoro? Put*ngina talaga,” the DFA chief then said.
Manila and Beijing have long been locked in a maritime dispute. In 2013, the Philippines filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in The Netherlands challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea.
The Hague-based court then ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 invalidating China’s nine-dash line.
Duterte has been criticized for setting aside the landmark 2016 arbitral ruling against Beijing’s mythical nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
China refused to recognize the ruling, continuing its aggression in the disputed waters and building artificial islands to house military facilities.
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