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Philippines

Locsin needs more data on collision of Chinese, Filipino boats

MANILA, Philippines — A report from the West Philippine Sea Task Force would be needed to determine whether or not the reported “collision” of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat would necessitate the filing of a diplomatic protest, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

“I repeat to those tweeting me updates. Thank you but again, let us wait for the West PH Task Force to give the sort of facts on the basis of which I fire off diplomatic protests,” Locsin said over Twitter Wednesday night.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly condemned what he described as a “cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew after it abandoned the 22 Filipino crewmen following the incident.

READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea

“This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” Lorenzana added.

In an earlier tweet, Locsin said that it was “contemptible” and “condemnable” to abandon the Filipino crew members.

READ: Locsin: ‘Contemptible’ to abandon crew of sunken Filipino boat

“What is contemptible and condemnable is the abandonment of the crew to the elements,” he said over Twitter.

Calls for diplomatic action

Lorenzana called for a formal investigation on the matter, adding that diplomatic steps should be taken following the incident, which happened last June 9.

Some lawmakers also condemned the reported “collision,” with Sen. Joel Villanueva calling the incident “ a huge insult.”

READ: Villanueva says WPS incident ’huge insult’ to Filipinos on Independence Day

“The incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international law in the West Philippine Sea,” said in a statement.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan urged the government to file a diplomatic protest against China.

“We urge our government to reverse its policy of subservience and appeasement and file a diplomatic protest,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.

READ: Pangilinan urges gov’t to file diplomatic protest against China

In a previous television interview with CNN Philippines over another development, Locsin said that “every incident reported to me by the task force of the armed forces is a subject of a note that I sent out.”

READ: Locsin wants Chinese vessels swarming around Pag-asa out

“I just don’t want to make a fuss about it because, one, it’s supposed to be between us. If it should ever come to a foreign tribunal then I can say we never yielded, we never consented by silence,” he said.

Back then, Locsin said over Twitter that he had “fired off a salvo of diplomatic notes” over the reported incursions of China in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Philippines ‘taking legal action’ vs China over Scarborough clams

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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