MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has made no public condemnation on the sinking of a Filipino boat near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea.
The fishing boat that was anchored was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel which then abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as it sank in the disputed sea.
Duterte’s trusted aide Christopher “Bong” Go earlier told INQUIRER.net that the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana already briefed the President on the incident when they were in Lanao del Sur in Mindanao on Wednesday.
While Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Malacañang condemned the incident, Duterte made no mention of the Filipino boat’s sinking in his speech at General Santos.
“Whether it’s a form of bullying or not, it’s outrageous, it’s barbaric, it’s uncivilized and we’re condemning it,” Panelo said.
In his speech, Duterte talked about the communist rebels, drug war, the Kapa investment scam, the Canada trash but was silent on the collision incident.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said 22 Filipino fishermen were left at sea after the Chinese vessel that hit their boat left them.
A Vietnamese vessel rescued them instead.
Duterte’s silence on the Recto Bank was in stark contrast to his outburst when he threatened to declare war against Canada over the tons of trash illegally shipped to the Philippines.
Duterte threatens Canada of “War” on garbage issue
President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to “go to war” with Canada if the country doesn’t take back tons of trash a Canada-based company had shipped to Manila several years ago.
“I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that (trash) out,” he said Tuesday. “We’ll declare war against them, we can handle them anyway.”
According to BOC, 103 containers holding 2,450 tons of trash were shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.
The containers were labeled as plastics for recycling, but inspectors in Philippines found the garbage was not recyclable. The trash was declared illegal as the private Canada-based company responsible for shipping the cargo didn’t have import clearances.
Some of the containers are still at the port of Manila, according to the report.