BAYAN MUNA TO MALACANANG: ARE THE LIVES OF FILIPINO FISHERMEN JUST A LITTLE MATTER?
Urges officials in Duterte administration to oppose Pres. Duterte’s sell out of Philippine sovereignty to China
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate reacted strongly on President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark on the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese vessel at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea and called it a “little maritime accident.”
“Are the lives of our fishermen of no or of little importance to the president that he along with his Cabinet members are now downplaying the issue as just an ordinary incident, contrary to evidence and the statements of our kababayan victims. Worse, the Chinese vessel did not even help but even abandoned the Filipino fisherfolk,” said Colmenares.
Bayan Muna also called Pres. Duterte’s statement exonerating China for abandoning Filipino fishermen after the Chinese vessel hit the fishermen’s boat, a “cop out “
“Pres. Duterte’s statement exonerating China for abandoning Filipino fishermen after the Chinese vessel hit the fishermen’s boat, is a cop out and a sell out as it practically helps China whitewash the case. The fact that the Chinese abandoned the fishermen despite their plea for help is not only a violation of international law but even of Philippine laws. The act of abandonment violates Art. 98 of UNCLOS, Regulation 33 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and Article 3 Paragraph 2 of The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety in Maritime Navigation,” he added
“In fact, under Art 375 of the Revised Penal Code on “Abandonment of Person in Danger and Abandonment of One’s Own Victim” failure to render assistance to a person whom he shall find in an uninhabited place or in danger” is a criminal act. But Pres. Duterte sided with China despite the testimonies of our Filipino fishermen. This is a cop out and is only intended to whitewash the case. His “kneel or war” foreign policy that if we complain China will invade is a “palusot” because he knows that this has no factual basis. Vietnam and Taiwan has actively opposed China’s expansion but China cannot invade them for fear of antagonizing the international community. If Pres. Duterte’s “kneel or war” policy were true, then China should have invaded us when we delivered the sharpest attack against China when we filed the case against it in the UNCLOS tribunal. Alam nyang hindi tayo lulusubin ng Tsina pero ginagamit nya lang yan para I- justify ang kanyang pagpapakatuta sa Tsina” said Colmenares
Rep. Zarate meanwhile said that “the problem with Pres. Duterte’s posturing is that it has practically surrendered our country to China for benefits that only Pres. Duterte knows. During the campaign he declared his ‘jet ski foreign policy’ promising to assert our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. Yet, when he took office he reversed his position to this “kowtowing” foreign policy in favor of China. What China do during the campaign period to change Pres. Duterte’s mind is now proving to be disastrous to our country and people,”
“We urge Pres. Duterte to abandon this pro- China foreign policies. We cannot surrender our sovereignty to China just because of the onerous loans it is giving. We challenge the military and AFP officials who are supposed to defend our sovereignty from foreign intrusion to condemn Pres. Duterte’s surrender of our sovereignty to China. If there are patriotic officials in the Duterte administration, it is time that you should all speak up and urge Pres. Duterte to stand up for the Philippines” ended Rep. Zarate. ###