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Lacson calls for PH-China 'leader-to-leader' talk on sinking of PH vessel

June 13, 2019 - Thursday 2:06 PM by Jon Joaquin

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Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday called for a “leader-to-leader” talk between the Philippines and China in the aftermath of the sinking of a Philippine fishing vessel when a Chinese fishing vessel collided with it in the West Philippine Sea on June 9.

"This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of a serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples,” Lacson said in a post on his Facebook page on Thursday.

"We don’t treat our friends like that and we don’t expect to be treated that way either,” he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had denounced the actions of the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel which had quickly fled after allegedly colliding with and sinking a Filipino fishing boat near Recto Bank on the night of June 9, leaving the 22 crew floundering in the water.

Lorenzana, in a statement on Wednesday, said a Vietnamese fishing vessel, which was in the vicinity, rescued all 22 fishermen and brought them to safety in coordination with the military's Western Command.

He said the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), which was conducting routine maritime patrol in the area was ordered to assist in the salvage of the stricken Filipino fishing vessel and its crew.

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Malacañang is "in parity” with Lorenzana’s view.

"The act of abandonment, by those sailing the Chinese fishing vessel, of 22 Filipino fishermen aboard their anchored and stationary watercraft hit  by them is uncivilized as it is outrageous,” Panelo said in a statement released on Thursday.

He said regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, "common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel.”

"The safety of the crew of the damaged Filipino vessel should have been the uppermost thought and helping them should have been the natural reaction of the crew of the other vessel,” he added.

Panelo said the present territorial conflict between the Philippines and China "is not and cannot be an impediment for the offending vessel to lend a hand to the distressed crew.”

"The Captain and the crew of the Chinese vessel should not have left the injured party without any assistance or succor. Such act of desertion is inhuman as it is barbaric. It is crystal-clear violation of maritime protocols as well as an infringement of internationally accepted practice of assisting a vessel in distress,” he said.

"We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” he added.

At the same time, Panelo said government “express(es) our sincere gratitude to the seamen of a Vietnamese vessel who rendered relief services to the distressed Filipino fishermen following the collision."