“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.