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Philippines

Robredo backs probe into sinking of PH fishing boat

Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo (Photo from a video posted on her Facebook timeline)

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has thrown her support for plans to investigate the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat at Recto Bank after it collided with a Chinese vessel.

Robredo tweeted on Wednesday, Independence Day, the statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who vowed to check on the new incident at the West Philippine Sea.

“Buo ang aking suporta sa panawagan ng ating AFP at ng DND na imbestigahan ang insidenteng ito, at panagutin ang kinauukulan,” she said in her tweet.

[I give my full support to the call of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the DND (Department of National Defense) for an investigation of this incident and to hold accountable those responsible.]

“Sa ating Araw ng Kasarinlan, magpakita tayo ng tapang at dignidad, lalo na kapag kapakanan at kalayaan ng ating mga mamamayan ang nakasalalay,” she added.

[On our Independence Day, let us show our courage and dignity, especially when the well-being and freedom of our citizens are at stake.]

Earlier, Lorenzana confirmed that F/B Gimver 1 was anchored last Sunday when the Chinese vessel hit it.

After the incident, the Chinese seafarers left the 22 Filipino crew members of the sunken boat, drawing condemnation from Lorenzana, who said that it was “not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people.”

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

The recent actions of Chinese vessels in the disputed region have been condemned by Filipinos in social media, including those allied with the Duterte administration and those in the opposition.

Shortly after reports on collision came out, Sen. JV Ejercito asked whether China is really a friend of the Philippines.

The militant groups Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Bayan Muna called for the filing of diplomatic protests.

READ: Ejercito asks: Is China really a friend?

READ: Collision’ at West PH Sea: File protest vs Beijing, Duterte admin told

The issue at the West Philippine Sea is the latest in a string of incidents this year after the AFP monitored an extraordinary surge of Chinese vessels in April and after Chinese-manned dredgers meant to extract sand were found in Zambales and Batangas.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured in the past that these issues would be taken up in diplomatic protests and negotiations with the Asian superpower.

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(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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