Senators want unbiased probe into tragic deaths of 3 Filipino fishers
MANILA, Philippines — Three senators on Wednesday called on the appropriate agencies to conduct an unbiased and comprehensive investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of three Filipino fishermen off Bajo de Masinloc.
Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Risa Hontiveros, and Grace Poe were pertaining to the collision between a Philippine fishing boat and an alleged commercial vessel 85 nautical miles northwest off Bajo de Masinloc, killing three Filipino fishers.
Estrada, in a statement, said he is saddened by the tragic incident, adding that the well-being of Filipino fishermen must “always be a top priority.”
He said those accountable for the incident must be held responsible.
“Kinakailangan na mabigyan linaw ang pangyayaring ito, kung ito ba ay aksidente o hindi para magkaroon ng kaukulang hakbang ang mga awtoridad,” said Estrada, chairperson of the chamber’s committee on national defense, security, peace, unification and reconciliation.
(There is a need to clarify this incident, whether it is an accident or not, for the authorities to take necessary steps.)
Like Estrada pointed out, Senator Grace Poe said no one should escape the law.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the death of three Filipino fishermen after their boat was rammed by a foreign vessel. Those found responsible must be meted the appropriate punishment,” she said.
Poe, who also sits as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the country’s maritime authorities should also increase its “presence in Philippine waters” to ensure the safety of local vessels.
“Nararapat ang dagdag na proteksyon lalo na sa maliliit nating mangingisda na naglalayag sa kabila ng panganib para lang mabuhay,” said Poe.
(There should be additional protection, especially for our small-scale fishermen who sail despite the dangers just to survive.)
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros condemned the ramming incident that killed three Filipino fishermen.
“Bajo de Masinloc, since time immemorial, has been a traditional fishing ground of our fisherfolk and is well within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone. Ito ay karagatang dapat malaya at ligtas sa lahat ng mga mangingisdang naghahanapbuhay,”
(This sea should be accessible and safe for all fishermen making a living.)
This incident, according to Hontiveros, proves that the Philippine Coast Guard should have increased intel funds, reiterating that this may help ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen.