PRRD on Reed Bank incident: Give other party right to be heard

MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday explained his recent silence on the Reed Bank (Recto Bank) incident, noting that he had to refrain from making statements since he would rather wait for results of the investigation of both the Philippine and Chinese authorities.

It's a maritime incident. It is best investigated and I will not issue a statement now because there is no investigation and there is no result. Then the only thing that we can do is to wait and give the other party the right to be heard, Duterte said during the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy at the Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Cavite City.

Importante 'yan e. O China, marami ka mang binigay, ano ba dito ang totoo? Tapos ang nangyari ganito, then let us sortano ang ma-sort natin diyan (That's important. China, you gave us a lot, what is the truth? Then this is what happened, let us sort, let's find out a way to sort this out), he added.

Around midnight of June 9, a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed and abandoned an anchored Filipino fishing boat with 22 fishermen on board near the Recto Bank in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Duterte appealed not to aggravate the situation in the maritime incident which is only being hyped up by some politicians.

Yang nangyari diyan sa banggaan (What happened in that collision), that is a maritime incident. 'Wag kayong maniwala diyan sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin yung Navy (Don't believe stupid politicians who want the navy to go there), Duterte said.

You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng bangka 'yan (That's only a collision between two boats). Do not make it worse, he added.

Duterte reiterated that the Philippines could not afford to go to war against China noting that a nuclear war could mean the end of everything.

He admitted that he wanted action over the Recto Bank incident but explained that he has a duty to rule as a civilized nation.

With all yung galit (anger) and one national official even urging sending (to send) the gray ships, warships doon sa (to the) China sea. Alam mo gusto ko 'yan, kung ako lang gusto ko ng (You know, I want that, I want) action but I am not in my boyhood age anymore, said Duterte, who did not identify who he was referring to.

I have a duty, that is a burden sometimes more than I carry � I can almost cry, he added.

He said he is not insane enough to build further tension between the Philippines and China.

If we have to die, we have to die in the correct way and to die with dignity hindi 'yan basta bangga-banga ka lang diyan (not just over a collision), Duterte said.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. filed a diplomatic protest against China in relation to the alleged abandonment of Filipino fishermen at sea.

The Chinese embassy in Manila denied the abandonment, saying the Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats.

Junel Insigne, captain of the F/B GEM-VIR1 from Occidental Mindoro, reportedly claimed the Chinese vessel stopped for a while and flashed its lights but instead of rescuing them, the vessel left the sinking Filipino fishing boat.

Insigne said it took two hours before a Vietnamese vessel rescued them. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency