Aquino assures assistance, justice for fishermen-A A +A
Monday, June 25, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III assured on Monday necessary assistance to the victims of reported collision between a Philippine boat and a Chinese fishing vessel in Bolinao, Pangasinan.
President Aquino refused to blame China on the incident, saying he is still waiting for the result of the investigation.
“There is an investigation, determination of cause, determination of who is at fault. Then after all of this investigation, then that tells us where we will proceed,” Aquino said in an interview in Benguet.
“So now, let us not pinpoint to anyone while there is no sufficient evidence,” he added.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Sunday that a Filipino fisherman died while four of his colleagues remain missing after a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed their boat.
The fisherman who died in the incident was identified as Christopher Carbonell from Bolinao, Pangasinan, while the four missing fishermen were identified as Fred Celino, Arnold Garcia, Domy de los Santos, and Amante Resonable.
The Chinese Embassy denied on Monday the incident, saying it has not received any report about the collision last June 20.
Aquino vowed justice for the victims of the collision.
“If there was a ramming incident and you left the fishermen in the middle of the sea -- that is in clear violation of the laws governing the seas. That is actionable. We can go to the appropriate fora to file the necessary charges for justice for our fishermen,” he said.
Aquino said the government is rendering assistance to the three fishermen who were rescued, namely: Edimio Balmores, Herman Balmores, and Celino Damian.
The three are currently confined at Gabriela Silang General Hospital in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
Aquino said there is still no definite plan if he will visit the three survivors, noting they are being assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“The authorities could not get statements from them because they are still suffering from hypothermia, rapid loss of body warmth. So, they still could not talk. There is no point if I go there because I cannot speak to them,” he said.
Aquino, meanwhile, said that the Philippines will not be sending back ships to the Panatag Shoal anymore because there is no presence of Chinese vessels in the area.
“If all the ships are no longer there, there is no purpose for them to be there,” he said.
He refused, however, to say if the return of ships means the end of the standoff, saying he is still waiting for the result of the latest survey of the Philippine Coast Guard. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)