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Pinoys want China to pay for Philippine boat sinking

Pinoys want China to pay for Philippine boat sinking
Helen Flores July 27, 2019 -

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should take action against the Chinese vessel that sank the boat of Filipino fishermen off the coast of Recto Bank, 34 percent of respondents said in a recent Pulse Asia survey.

The latest Ulat ng Bayan public opinion survey, conducted from June 24 to 30, showed that aside from filing a formal complaint, 36 percent of Filipinos want China to impose sanctions on the crew of the Chinese vessel.

This was the “most preferred option” in Metro Manila at 46 percent, the rest of Luzon at 45 percent and Classes D and E, at 34 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

At midnight on June 9, a Chinese vessel allegedly hit an anchored F/B Gem-Ver 1 in Recto Bank in Palawan and left 22 Filipino fishermen floundering in the water until their rescue by a Vietnamese crew hours later.

Moreover, 26 percent of Filipinos believe China itself, not just the crew, should pay for the damages incurred by Gem-Ver 1 and injuries suffered by its crew. This was the most favored option in the Visayas (36 percent) and Mindanao (35 percent).

Last June 12, the Philippines filed a formal diplomatic protest with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding the incident.

An investigation by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority found that the Chinese ship failed to undertake measures to avoid colliding with the Filipino fishing boat.

The investigation also concluded that the Chinese ship’s abandonment of the Filipino fishermen violated international maritime law.

For 19 percent of Filipinos, the crewmembers of the Chinese fishing vessel should be presented before a Philippine court for trial.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo earleir said that the government will bring the Chinese crew before a Philippine court if their government fails to hand down a sanction against them.

Ten percent of Filipinos, on the other hand, believe the Philippines and China should sit down and agree on a set of rules that would apply to similar maritime incidents in the West Philippine Sea.

Among those in Class ABC, the leading options are to have China sanction the crewmembers of the fishing vessel responsible for the Recto Bank incident (38 percent), to have China present those involved in the incident before a Philippine court so they can be tried here (20 percent) and for the Philippines and China to agree on a set of rules governing similar maritime incidents in the West Philippine Sea (15 percent).

Among five pre-listed options included in the survey, the least favored is for the Philippines to bring the issue before the United Nations General Assembly (eight percent).

In addition, two percent of Filipinos said they do not know enough to state an opinion on the matter.

The survey also found almost nine in 10 Filipinos or 87 percent have heard, read or watched something about the incident in the West Philippine Sea.

Majority levels of awareness are posted across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (83 percent to 95 percent and 87 percent to 99 percent, respectively).