Tolentino pushes establishment of PH archipelagic sealanes
MANILA, Philippines — The need to establish Philippine archipelagic sealanes was once again brought up by Senator Francis Tolentino after the tragic collision of boat and huge vessel in Bajo de Masinloc that led to the deaths of three Filipino fishermen.
The establishment of archipelagic sea lanes will prohibit unauthorized passage of foreign ships within the country’s territorial waters.
In a press conference on Friday, Tolentino told reporters that if an archipelagic sealane is established, navigators of vessels will be able to determine which routes should be avoided or not.
“[K]aya nangyayari ito wala tayong tamang archipelagic sealane kahit saan pwede dumaan. So kung may archipelagic sealane tayo, mayroon talagang ruta na dadaanan yung mga malalaking vessels at alam nila, alam nung mga maliliit na bangka, mga mangingisda natin na iyon ang daanan pwede rin iwasan. Ganun din ang mga malalaking vessels kapag equipped sila sa tamang navigational equipment at ilaw kapag gabi,” said Tolentino.
(The reason why this is happening is that we don’t have a proper archipelagic sealane. That’s why they pass through anywhere. If we have an archipelagic sealane, there really is a route that the big vessels will pass through. Even the small boats and our fishermen will know which routes can be avoided. The same is true for large vessels when they are equipped with the right navigational equipment and lights at night.)
Tolentino, who also sits as the chairperson of the chamber’s special committee on maritime and admiralty zones, said with the absence of archipelagic sealane, the freedom of navigation is possibly being abused.
“[M]aybe the freedom of navigation is being abused. Our fishermen end up in danger because they don’t think that big ships will suddenly appear there,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The Philippine Coast Guard earlier bared that the ramming appears to be accidental. It then disclosed that the vessel responsible for the fatal incident bears a Marshall Islands flag.