By Vanne Terrazola
Former presidential special assistant and senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday assured that President Duterte is monitoring the developments in the supposed collision of the Chinese and Filipino fishing vessels in the Recto (Reed) Bank last week.
“President Rodrigo Duterte has already been informed about this incident and is closely monitoring the situation,” the Chief Executive’s most trusted aide said in a statement.
“Our stand is to diplomatically work with the Chinese government to investigate the matter fairly, to impose certain measures so that such incidents can be avoided, and to impose sanctions against those behind the recent incident,” he added.
Like Duterte, Go said he, too, is waiting for the result of the ongoing investigation of both the Philippine and Chinese governments to “determine exactly whether the collision was a maritime accident or an intentional act on the part of the Chinese vessel.”
This, even as the distressed fishermen, already said that the Chinese vessel deliberately struck their boat while anchored in the bank within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Go said he also wants to know “whether or not there was an UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas) 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.”
The incoming lawmaker maintained that the issue should be discussed by Philippines and China “in a diplomatic manner.”
“Should there be findings that that there was a deliberate act to harm the Filipino fishing boat, the perpetrators should be made to answer,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said Duterte is still waiting for the complete report on the Recto Bank incident before issuing any public statements.
The Chinese embassy, earlier, denied that the Chinese fishing vessel intended to hit the Filipino boat. It also claimed that their locals fled the scene in fear of being “besieged” by other Filipino boats.
“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,” Go reiterated.