Press Release
June 18, 2019

Statement by Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on the Recto Bank incident

"Let us not muddle the issue. Whether the ramming was intentional or accidental, what is in issue, and what is clear and admitted, is that the Chinese boat captain abandoned the Filipino fishermen in distress at sea. This violates China's obligation under the UNCLOS to rescue those in distress at sea. This is the issue that should be addressed and the basis of China's liability under international law and the UNCLOS.

The claim of the Chinese Embassy that the Chinese boat left because of fear of being besieged by Philippine boats in the vicinity is baloney and an outright and malicious lie. If there were indeed Philippine fishing boats in the vicinity, why did it take a Vietnamese vessel to rescue the 22 Filipinos in distress? And at least one hour after the incident? And, per testimony of the Filipino crew, the Chinese boat even came back, without hesitation, with bright strong lights, to check on the Philippine fishing boat, presumably to find out if enough damage was inflicted, and not to rescue the Filipino crew."

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