JUNE 13, 2019 — Senators denounced on Wednesday the crew of a Chinese vessel that abandoned a sinking Filipino fishing boat after an alleged collision in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea early this week.
Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the government to conduct a “leader-to-leader talk” between President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping after the incident.
“We don’t treat our friends like that and we don’t expect to be treated that way either,” Lacson said in a statement.
“Nothing short of a hard and serious punitive action by the Chinese leadership against the Chinese crew responsible for the cowardly act against our fishermen could assuage the majority of our countrymen’s strong apprehension about the sincerity of China towards us,” he added.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan told the government to reverse its subservience and appeasement policy and to file a diplomatic protest against China.
“We denounce the inhumane and cruel act of abandoning 22 human lives in the high seas,” Pangilinan said.
“No self-respecting nation in the world will stay meek and docile in the face of such cruelty and aggression,” he added.
Senator Joel Villanueva said the incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international laws in the West Philippine Sea.
“This is a huge insult to us on the day we celebrate our independence. Let us be reminded of the sacrifices our heroes did so that we can continue to have the freedom we are enjoying now,” Villanueva said.
“It is now our responsibility to do the same: assert our rights over the west Philippine sea and our freedom to navigate and exploit the resources within our exclusive economic zone,” he added.
Senator JV Ejercito, for his part, questioned the country’s friendship with China.
“Pinalubog na ang barko, iniwan pa ang crew members sa dagat. Kaibigan ba talaga ang China?” Ejercito said on his Twitter.