The Filipino fishermen vs. China aftermath

The Filipino fishermen vs. China aftermath

The Recto Bank 22 incident is proof that Filipinos rank low in the government’s priorities

A little maritime incident” were the words of our President to describe the fact that 22 fishermen lost their source of livelihood in the West Philippine Sea. In an attempt to show that Duterte does care, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources prepared 11 motorboats to be given to the 22 fishermen affected in the Reed Bank incident on June 9, but is it enough?

These are the crew members of F/B GEM-VER1 that lost their boat and were left stranded at sea after being rammed by  a Chinese ship that quickly left the scene. Luckily, they were rescued after being spotted by a Vietnamese crew.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced that the fishermen will be receiving P550,000 in government aid in addition to the new motorboats. He rebutts anyone who has criticized government inaction that Duterte has not downplayed the issue, despite profusely dismissing the fishermen’s and the Navy Chief’s claim that the Chinese ship may have intentionally rammed into the fishermen. His staff also doubts the claim, wanting to hear the side of the Chinese government. It seems that the president doesn’t want to step on Chinese toes, especially considering his close, close relationship with their government.

The Chinese government defended the choice to abandon the fishermen, because apparently several Filipino ships surrounded the Chinese ship as a threat of a siege. The Vietnamese crew that rescued the 22 corroborates that there were no other boats in the area during the rescue.

True to form, these government-sponsored boats looked like the bare minimum and were half the quantity of the 22 originally promised, which warranted some angry responses from people, particularly about how they don’t look suited for the open ocean. Nonetheless, the Reed Bank 22 still accepted the boats and compensation.

Piñol even paid a visit to F/B GEM-VER1 owner Felix Dela Torre’s home for a closed-door meeting with the fishermen. Notably, police in full riot gear also arrived to the party. After the meeting, boat captain Junel Insigne has suddenly claimed that he might have remembered the incident wrong, and that the Chinese are not to blame for their ship sinking, despite previously asserting that the collision was done on purpose. Some members of the Reed Bank 22 continue to claim the crash was intentional, but now, it seems that their captain is going down with a different ship.


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