By Roy Mabasa
Following the reported sinking a Philippine fishing boat off the Reed Bank or Recto Bank, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday joined Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in condemning the abandonment of the 22 Filipino crewmen who were left in the scene after the collision that occurred on June 9.
“I take my cue from Defense Sec. Lorenzana. What is contemptible and condemnable is the abandonment of the crew to the elements,” Locsin said in a portion of his tweet shortly after he landed in Geneva, Switzerland.
Earlier, Lorenzana denounced the Chinese vessel for leaving the scene immediately after colliding with FB Gimber 1, a Filipino fishing boat, leaving behind the Filipino crew at sea.
“We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements,” the defense secretary said.
Lorenzana is seeking a thorough probe of the collision, as well as diplomatic measures to prevent a repetition of a similar incident in the future.
The 22 Filipino crew members were reportedly rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel, which happened to be within the area at the time of the incident.
They were subsequently brought to safety in coordination with the Navy’s BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was conducting a routine maritime patrol in the area.
Locsin said Vietnam’s act of rescuing the Filipino fishermen on the high seas will be the basis of an enhanced Vietnam-Philippines military cooperation.
The Philippines and Vietnam, together with Malaysia Taiwan, Brunei and China have conflicting claims in the South China Sea.