Go: Recto Bank incident should be discussed diplomatically

Inquirer.net June 18,2019 - 10:04 AM

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua chats with Christopher “Bong” Go, who was then presidential assistant, on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific health conference in Davao City on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (Photo from Malacañang)

MANILA, Philippines — The ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel at Recto Bank needs to be discussed by the Philippines and China in a “diplomatic manner,” incoming Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said Monday.

“Should there be findings that there was a deliberate act to harm the Filipino fishing boat, the perpetrators should be made to answer,” Go said in a statement.

READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea

Go said the government’s stand was to “diplomatically work” with the Chinese government to investigate the matter “fairly,” to “impose certain measures,” and to “impose sanctions” against those responsible.

According to him, the government is waiting for the result of the ongoing investigation of both governments to determine whether the incident was a maritime accident or an intentional act on the part of the Chinese vessel.

“We also want to determine whether or not there was an UNCLOS violation relative to giving aid to a vessel in distress — and assuming that the Chinese vessel did depart after the incident, whether or not it was justified to do so,” Go explained.

UNCLOS stands for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He assured, however, that government officials were addressing the issue.

Go noted how Malacañang had called on the Chinese government to investigate the incident, while the Department of Foreign Affairs had filed a diplomatic protest.

READ: PH files protest vs China over boat sinking

He also said President Rodrigo Duterte had been monitoring the situation.

“Rest assured, tinututukan ito ni Pangulong Duterte at ng buong gobyerno natin upang maipaglaban ang karapatan ng mga Pilipino sa tama, maayos at diplomatikong paraan,” he said.

[Rest assured, President Duterte and the whole government is closely monitoring this so we could defend the rights of Filipinos in a correct, orderly and diplomatic way.]

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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