See More on Facebook


Philippines calls for Chinese compensation over sunk boat

Reparations for Philippines fishermen sought after boat sunk by Chinese ship.

Written by

Updated: June 17, 2019

A national group of fishermen on Sunday said the crew of the Philippine fishing boat that sank in the South China Sea after being hit by a Chinese trawler which then abandoned them should receive reparations and moral damages from the Chinese government.

Aside from the damage to the Filipino fishermen’s boat, the Gem-Vir 1, which cost around P2 million, and their lost fishing equipment, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said they also lost at least 3 tons of catch.

Among the fish the Gem-Vir 1 crew caught during their 10-day trip, Pamalakaya said, were high-value species, including grouper (“lapu-lapu”) and red snapper (“maya-maya”).

The group estimated the value of the Gem-Vir 1’s catch at P540,000, which the fishermen lost when their boat sank.

‘What we need is justice’

“Aside from the damage to personal belongings and livelihood equipment, our fishermen have experienced moral distress and trauma,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chair, said.

“What we need is justice and [assurance] that it will not happen again by [removing] Chinese vessels [from] our seas,” Hicap said.

The Gem-Vir 1 was anchored near Recto Bank (international name: Reed Bank) when it was hit by the Chinese vessel around midnight on June 9.

The Philippine boat sank, but the Chinese vessel, instead of stopping to rescue the Filipino fishermen, sailed away.

A Vietnamese boat, arriving at the scene hours later, rescued the Filipinos.

Filipino officials and lawmakers condemned the hit-and-run and demanded an investigation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) filed a diplomatic protest on Wednesday and Malacañang threatened to sever diplomatic relations with China if an investigation found out that the Philippine boat was intentionally hit.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Friday acknowledged that a Chinese trawler was involved, but denied the incident was a hit-and-run.

“The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats,” the embassy said in a statement.

That’s a lie, Philippine senators said on Saturday, as the Chinese Embassy appeared to have forgotten that as early as midweek, it was already widely known that a Vietnamese vessel rescued the Filipino fishermen.

If indeed there were other Philippine boats in the area, how come it was a Vietnamese vessel that picked the Filipinos out of the water, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said, pointing out an attempt at cover-up by the Chinese Embassy.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. was dismissive of China’s claim on Saturday.

“Proper official response to Chinese version — whether it changes or changes back or whatever — is simply: NOTED,” Locsin tweeted.

He revised his response in another tweet: “NOTED. NEXT. And we press on with our military’s version.”

The Philippine military had said the incident was a hit-and-run.

On Saturday, the Philippine Embassy in London brought the incident to the attention of the United Nations International Maritime Organization, saying the Filipino fishermen were “callously abandoned to the elements” by Chinese mariners who rammed and sank their boat.

Locsin mentioned the incident in a speech at a reception hosted by the Philippines for its Independence Day celebration during the World Intellectual Property Organization gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday.

“The hit-and-run incident in the South China Sea where a Chinese fishing vessel sank a Philippine fishing boat and left the crew to the mercy of the elements will test the fortitude of our commitment to independence,” Locsin said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who calls Chinese President Xi Jinping a friend, has not said a word about the incident.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Sunday that the President called a Cabinet meeting for Monday to discuss the incident. But Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said later on Sunday that the meeting had been canceled.

There were also reports that the President had invited Junel Insigne, the captain of the Gem-Vir 1, to a meeting in Malacañang on Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he had no information about a meeting between the President and the fishermen.

No information

The 22 fishermen returned home to Occidental Mindoro on Friday with help from the Philippine Navy, which also towed home the badly damaged Gem-Vir 1.

In an interview on radio, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the security and the economic clusters would meet on Monday, but he believed Mr. Duterte would not be able to attend it due to a full schedule for the day

Nograles also appealed to the public not to be hasty in judging China over the sinking of the Gem-Vir 1. “Let us allow the Department of Foreign Affairs to tell the people if we are at the point where the other party is not cooperating. Let us go through due process,” he said.

But Vice President Leni Robredo, disappointed by the Chinese government’s statement on Friday, demanded that the crew of the Chinese trawler be held responsible and put on trial in Philippine courts.

In a strongly worded statement on Sunday, Robredo urged the DFA to demand that the Chinese government find the Chinese crew and recognize Philippine jurisdiction over the case.

‘Passive’ China policy

She also said the incident called for the government to shift its “passive” policy to a more assertive stance in upholding the Filipinos’ rights.

The Duterte administration’s failure to contest China’s encroachment on Philippine territory in the South China Sea would inevitably result in increasingly less Chinese respect for Philippine laws and sovereignty, Robredo said.

“This is the time where we expect our leaders to be true to their oath and speak, act and do what is needed to defend the dignity of our nation and [of] every Filipino,” the Vice President said.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said China should make public the names of the captain and crew of the Chinese trawler to determine whether the vessel was part of China’s maritime militia, as suspected by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

“Certainly, if it was really a militia vessel, then it means that the [Chinese] government is directly involved [in the incident],” Drilon said. —Reports from Jhesset O. Enano, Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Maricar Cinco, Julie M. Aurelio and Marlon Ramos


Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Philippine Daily Inquirer
About the Author: The Philippine Daily Inquirer is one the country’s most credible and influential newspapers with over 500 awards and citations.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Indonesia slams Singapore for withholding information on nationals treated for COVID-19

Indonesia complains on Singapore insisting to withhold personal information of its citizens showing COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta. The Indonesian government has complained that Singapore insists on withholding the personal information of several Indonesian citizens believed to have shown COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta and tested positive for the lethal virus in the city-state. Jakarta said it was facing difficulties in tracing and isolating those who might have had contact with the patients, now being treated at Singaporean hospitals. “We have asked for the identities of the Indonesian nationals from Singapore. They did not give us the names. How are we going to conduct the tracing in Indonesia? Singapore is adamant on not disclosing their identities,”

By The Jakarta Post
March 13, 2020


Seoul stocks sink, trigger first circuit breaker for 5 min in 8 years 

The Kospi plummeted more than 5 per cent during Thursday trading, which triggered the stock exchange to temporarily halt trading on Korea’s main bourse, as investor sentiments weighed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Korea Exchange activated a “sidecar,” meaning it temporarily halted the trading of shares, for five minutes around 1:04 p.m. after Kospi 200 index futures slipped over 5 percent. It was the first time the sidecar had been activated for the Kospi since Oct. 4, 2011, when Greece defaulted on its debts. “The temporarily halt trading was due to the plunging of the Kospi 200 index futures. They plummeted from 256.90 points to 243.90 points — down 13 points, or 5.06 percent at that time for over a minute,” a KRX official said. The s

By Asia News Network
March 12, 2020


Final temporary hospital in Wuhan closes its doors

A total of 15 such hospitals, converted from exhibition halls, sports stadiums and warehouses, received more than 12,000 patients. All the 15 temporary hospitals built to exclusively receive novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, Hubei province, have been closed, with the daily number of reported new cases hitting a record low. Wuchang Temporary Hospital, which was converted from a sports stadium, closed on Tuesday afternoon after its final 49 patients were discharged, making it the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic in China, to close its doors. The hospital, which was converted within two days, received a total of 1,124 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the 35 days of its operation. No patients died in the hosp

By China Daily
March 11, 2020


Social media curbs removed in Jammu and Kashmir after seven months

 Jammu and Kashmir administration removes restrictions on social media use across Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown since the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Wednesday removed restrictions from social media usage across the Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown on the eve of the Centre’s August 5 announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation. The directions came after a review of the situation by the J&K Home department. The order, issued without the

By The Island
March 10, 2020


15 Korean pharmas, 4 state institutes research coronavirus

South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus. South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus, according to news reports Monday. Around 15 firms and four institutes here are burning the midnight oil to get an effective cure, according to Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association. KPBMA Chairman Won Hee-mok emphasized the synergies between private and public research bodies in yielding a faster outcome. The association identified Korean companies working on vaccines — including SK Bioscience, GC Pharma, Boryung Biopharma, Sumagen and G+FLAS Life Sciences. T

By Asia News Network
March 9, 2020


‘Incredible India’ now being viewed as intolerant India, says FM Qureshi

 “Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn,” says the foreign minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday stated that ‘Incredible India’ is now being viewed as “intolerant India”, and ‘Shining India’ as “burning India”, adding that the country is now facing international scrutiny like never before. The foreign minister expressed these views while speaking at a seminar, organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, in Islamabad. During his address, Qureshi stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn, as predicted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Referring to the country

By Asia News Network
March 6, 2020