MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang called on the government of China to sanction the crew of a Chinese vessel that left Filipino fishermen to fend for themselves after a vessel collision in the West Philippine Sea.
“The act of abandonment, by those sailing the Chinese fishing vessel of 22 Filipino fishermen aboard their anchored and stationary watercraft hit by them, is uncivilized as it is outrageous,” said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Thursday, June 13, in a statement.
“Such act of desertion is inhuman as it is barbaric,” he added.
The Philippine government said the act violated international laws and called on China to impose sanctions on the crew of the Chinese ship. (READ: Sinking of Filipino vessel 'a first' in Philippines-China row)
“It is a crystal-clear violation of maritime protocols as well as an infringement of internationally accepted practice of assisting a vessel in distress. We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” said Panelo.
The Palace acknowledged the dispute between the Philippines and China on their rights over the West Philippine Sea but said this should not have stopped the Chinese crew from helping the Filipinos after the crash.
“The present territorial conflict between the countries of the two colliding vessels pertaining to the area where the collision occurred, is not – and can not be an impediment for the offending vessel to lend a hand to the distressed crew. The Captain and the crew of the Chinese vessel should not have left the injured party without any assistance or succor,” said Malacañang.
Whether the collision was accidental or intentional, “common decency” demanded that the Chinese come to the aid of the Filipinos.
China and the Philippines are supposed to be enjoying renewed friendship and stronger diplomatic ties during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The two governments have been holding bilateral talks on their maritime dispute since 2017.
In 2018, the two countries agreed to pursue joint exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com