Senator Richard J. Gordon on June 18 pointed out that the issue on the recent sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel incident near Recto Bank is that distressed people should not be left abandoned at sea.
Gordon pointed out that the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang missed the point because the heart of the matter is the crew of the Chinese vessel left the Filipino fishermen in peril of the sea.
“The issue is people are not supposed to be abandoned at sea. Whether it is an accident or intentional collision, is beside the point. The crux of the matter is you left the fishermen in peril of the sea. Under the UNCLOS, it is everybody’s duty to rescue people at sea whether it’s peace time or war time regardless of nationality. Whenever there is an incident at sea, the first responsibility is to rescue,” the senator said.
“Aside from violating a very tight international rule and tradition, their action went against human nature. You don’t even need a law to help people who are in distress at sea. The natural law, or the nature or character of human beings, is to save his fellowman. I’m sure many of the Chinese know that when there are people to be saved, they will save them. The Chinese are like us, unless these people are militia, which means that it could compromise the Chinese if they are militia,” he added.
Gordon also said China should stop taking positions which could worsen the issue.
“First, China admitted that it was a Chinese vessel and that they would investigate and take cognizance. Then they say that the Chinese vessel was engaged in a light purse seine operation when it was suddenly besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats. Sinabi pa nila the Chinese vessel failed to shun a Filipino fishing boat, and its steel cable on the lighting grid of larboard bumped into the Filipino pilothouse. Tapos yung Chinese foreign ministry spokesman maintained that it was an accidental collision between fishing boats at sea,” he said.
“It is not difficult to admit one’s fault. In October 2011, the Philippine Navy quickly apologized to China after one its warships accidentally rammed a Chinese fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea. Stating there were no reports of damage or casualties in the incident, the Philippine government immediately sent an apology to the Chinese embassy in Manila to avoid creating further tension. China could have done this too,” Gordon further said. SENATE