With the ramming of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese vessel, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called on Pres. Duterte to condemn the attack and demand that the Chinese government hold the perpetrators accountable saying that the action is not only illegal but also violation of international law.

“The act of the Chinese vessel of abandoning Filipino fishermen in a sinking boat is not only proof that the Chinese purposely rammed the Filipino boat but is also a violation of international law. Article 98 of UNCLOS, of which China is a member, requires States to “to render assistance to the other ship, its crew and its passengers” after a collision. The same provision is also provided under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. Clearly then, China as a government has a responsibility in the incident and must be made accountable should it fail to prosecute the perpetrator of this heinous incident. The ramming and abandonment of a sinking boat intends to cause death or injury to Filipino citizens and is a criminal act that cannot go unpunished. The fact that China claims the entire South China Sea as its territory just not justify the attack on our fisherfolks. ” said Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares.

“We are thankful that Vietnam, who is also a disputant in the South China Sea issue fulfilled its obligation under international law and came to the rescue of our distressed fishers. It is about time that the Philippines build a formal alliance among other disputants like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and even Taiwan, to oppose any Chinese artificial island building and military expansion in the South China Sea,” he added.

“We should ask the support of the international community in demanding a demilitarization of the South China in the search for a peaceful resolution of the dispute to avoid the repeat of the ramming incident.” said the progressive leader.

“Pres. Duterte believes in punishment including the killing of suspected drug addicts from poor communities. Ngayon masusubukan ang tapang nya na mag ensure, hindi lang demand, na parusahan ng Tsina ang mga umatake sa ating mga mangingisda. He must also warn China not to repeat the attacks. He threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Canada if it will not take back its garbage. If he is that brave Pres. Duterte should also make similar demands for the attack on Filipino citizens in our own Recto Bank, ” said Colmenares.

Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Zarate in a similar vein called on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to demand accountability from China.

“The act of the Chinese vessel is not only an attack on the Filipino fisherfolks but is also an attack on our territorial integrity. China has the responsibility to hold its citizens to account for violating our laws and international law. Pres. Duterte, if he is really concerned about our fisherfolks he must demand that China punish the perpetrators for their criminal act,” said the Davao-based solon.

“Tama na, sobra na ang panahon ng pagpapaalila sa mga dayuhang tulad ng Tsina. Oras na upang ipagtanggol naman ng administrasyong Duterte ang ang ating bayan at mga kababayan, ” said Rep. Zarate.

“Pres. Duterte should also begin forging closer alliances with other disputants like Vietnam who have been publicly opposing China’s expansion in the South China Sea. Vietnam and Taiwan have bravely fought against China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea for many years now, while we, who won a case against China in an international tribunal have been gravitating towards China instead of countries who oppose China. It is time for Pres. Duterte to realize and draw the line who our friends and enemies are in the West Philippine Sea dispute” ended Rep. Zarate.###

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