Press Release
June 17, 2019


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Cusi's statement that the ramming of PH boat in Recto bank was "unintentional"

Secretary Alfonso Cusi's comments are the height of insensitivity to our poor fisherfolk, ignorance of facts and even bordering on the treacherous.

It becomes completely understandable, then, why Junel Insigne, captain of the F/B GEM-VIR 1, backed out of the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. With public officials like Secretary Cusi, who needs enemies?

Secretary Cusi says that the ramming of the F/B GEM-VIR 1 by a Chinese fishing vessel was unintentional because the impact from the collision was at the side of the stern. Is the Secretary of Energy now an expert at evaluating collisions between sea vessels? Is he now lawyering for the Chinese government?

What additional proof does Secretary Cusi need? For our fishing vessel to be completely wrecked and for people to die? The Chinese government itself has admitted that their boat rammed ours. Our Department of Defense, as well as the consistent accounts of our fishermen, also confirm this.

The simple facts are these: A Chinese vessel rammed one of our ships while it was anchored and while our fishermen were sleeping. This happened in our waters and our territory. The Chinese vessel left our fishermen at the mercy of the sea, and the only reason our fishermen are home is because they were saved by the Vietnamese.

Cusi's statements effectively side with China when he tries to downplay the severity of the matter. Is there some kind of "fifth column" within the Cabinet that favors China's attempts to silence the issue, instead of trying to investigate the matter thoroughly and look after our fishermen?

I suggest that the Duterte government rein in its own people and stop them from making wild, outlandish remarks.

I also call on Secretary Cusi to apologize to our aggrieved fisherfolk and the entire nation lest he wants to be seen as a fifth column.

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