MANILA (UPDATE) - In the dead of night of June 9,
most crew members of GEM-VIR1 were asleep, dog-tired from nearly 2 weeks
of catching fish in the West Philippine Sea.
Navigation lights illuminated their boat while it was berthed in the
waters off Recto Bank (Reed Bank) near Palawan to avoid the risk of
The Filipino fishermen had set off from Occidental Mindoro on May 29
and were on their last day before heading home when a speeding Chinese
fishing vessel was coming their way.
JP Gordiones recalled he was roused from sleep because of the chaos
and shouting. He and other crewmates rushed to the bow of the boat,
moments before the foreign ship plowed them.
"Akala ko po na panaginip lang pero 'yun pala totoo na," Gordiones said.
(I thought it was just a dream, but it turned out to be true.)
Meanwhile, Ramil Gregorio was in for a rude awakening and found himself submerged in cold water.
"Paggising ko, lumubog na kami. Nagsigawan kami, 'Tulong! Tulong'," he said.
(When I woke up, we were already sinking. We shouted, "Help! Help!")
Boat captain Junel Insigne said the Chinese fishing vessel,
identified by Chinese authorities as Yuemaobinyu 42212, stopped for a
while and flashed its lights.
"Nakita nila kaming lubog na, naglalanguyan na," he said.
(They saw that the boat was sinking and we're floating in the water.)
Instead of rescuing the distressed fishermen, the Chinese fishing vessel maneuvered in reverse and rushed off, Insigne recalled.
"Akala ko tutulungan kami. Tinakbuhan pa kami."
(I thought they were going to help us, but they abandoned us instead.)
While the crew were struggling to stay afloat, they saw a gleam of hope some 5 miles away.
Insigne asked Gordiones and Justine Pascual to row a small banca to ask for help from another vessel.
It took the pair some 2 hours to reach the vessel, which they later found out to be manned by the Vietnamese.
Gordiones and Pascual gestured that they had crewmates stuck at sea.
The Vietnamese then came to aid the Filipino crew, rescued them and
later gave them food.
"Pinaakyat po kaming lahat. Doon kami pinakain, doon kami
pinagpahinga muna, pinainom ng tubig. Sila nagtulong sa amin," he said.
(They allowed us on their vessel. They fed us, let us rest, gave us water. They are the ones who helped us.)
Asked how he knew of their nationality, Insigne said: "Sabi niya, 'Vietnam? Philippines? Friends.' Kaya alam kong Vietnam."
(He said, "Vietnam? Philippines? Friends." That's why I knew they were from Vietnam.)
Insigne remains puzzled why the Chinese fishing vessel rammed their boat unprovoked.
The incident happened on a day declared as the annual commemoration
of Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day in waters within the Philippines'
exclusive economic zone in the disputed South China Sea, which China
claims in near entirety.
"Wala naman po kaming pineperwisyo sa kanila. Naghahanap-buhay naman po kami ng maayos," he said.
(We are not causing them any trouble. We are simply trying to make a living.)
Darwin Cañete12 hrs · Bubuy Balangue14 hrsAMOY MALANSA Here is an actual photo of the Filipino vessel which got rammed. IT DID NOT SINK. Unlike what is being reported by Richard Heydarian, among other destabilizers. Because "IT NEED NOT BE TRUE. IT JUST NEEDS TO LOOK LIKE IT." #YellowMisinformation#Destabilization#Fabrication#AmoyMalansangSabotahe
Kasabay ng pagtanggi makipag usap kay PRRD, sabay pasok naman ng OVP...
Ibang klase talaga kayong mga dilawan...
(ctto Juruena Derck)
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will summon Chinese Ambassador Zhao
Jianhua to the Palace over the sinking of a Filipino boat at Recto Bank
in the West Philippine Sea, INQUIRER.net learned Monday afternoon.
The Security, Justice and Peace Cabinet Cluster and Economic
Development Cabinet Cluster convened for roughly 3 hours Monday to
discuss the incident. A highly-placed source present during the meeting
said members of the Cabinet clusters ultimately agreed to call Zhao over
to Malacañang to explain.
Last June 9, a Chinese vessel reportedly rammed and eventually sunk
an anchored Filipino boat at Recto Bank, and left all 22 fishermen in
the open sea.
More than a week since the incident, President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to publicly address the matter.
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese “have no business” fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay made this assertion Monday,
following the reported incident involving a Chinese vessel ramming an
anchored Filipino boat at Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea
and abandoning the 22 Filipino fishermen there last June 9.
The gas-rich Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ EEZ.
“The incident happened in Reed Bank. Reed Bank is a fully-submerged
area and based on the decision in Philippines versus China, which we
won, there are no overlapping entitlements between the Philippines and
China over the Reed Bank,” Hilbay said in an interview with ABS-CBN News
Channel on Monday.
“Because the Reed Bank is within our exclusive economic zone (EEZ),
we’re the only ones who have the right to fish there. And so the Chinese
have no business fishing in our exclusive economic zone,” he added.
Hilbay was referring to the arbitration case won by the Philippines
against China in July 2016. Hilbay, as Solicitor General during the
administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, was among those who
led the country’s legal team when the case was being tackled at the
Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.
The arbitration court invalidated China’s nine-dash line, which
claims almost all of South China Sea, including waters within in EEZ of
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines (West Philippine Sea), Vietnam, and
Chinese fishermen liable
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has strongly condemned what he
described as a “cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel and its
crew after it abandoned the Filipino fishermen in the open sea early
But the Chinese Embassy in Manila has denied there had been an
incident of a “hit-and-run” and claimed the Chinese fishing vessel was
suddenly “besieged” by seven or eight Philippine fishing boats. It also
claimed the Chinese vessel’s “steel cable on the lighting grid” bumped
into the Philippine boat’s pilothouse during its evacuation.
Hilbay nevertheless said the Chinese vessel involved in the June 9
incident should be held accountable for the reported ramming –
intentional or not.
“The Filipino vessel was anchored, it was anchored on Philippine
waters. Under the Philippine Constitution, the waters around and
surrounding the Philippine archipelago are considered Philippine waters,
and so the Filipinos had every right to be where they were, they were
anchored, they were safe, and the ramming by the Chinese vessel of the
Filipino vessel was of course… creates obligation on the part of the
Chinese vessel,” he said.
“My understanding is that the Chinese vessel is a private vessel, and
so they are accountable for what they have done, whether or not it was
intentional… you can set that aside because they left the Filipinos on
their own, only to be saved by the Vietnamese,
Nagsalita na si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte kaugnay ng pagbangga ng Chinese vessel sa bangka ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda sa Recto Bank. Tinawag niya itong simpleng "maritime incident" at muling iginiit na hindi kayang makipaggiyera ng Pilipinas sa China. I-Bandila mo, Pia Gutierrez. - Bandila, Lunes, 17 Hunyo, 2019
It was midnight on June 9. Mr Junel Insigne had claimed his small
corner on the 14-tonne, wooden outrigger boat that had taken him and his
crew of 21 fishermen more than 150km from their seaside town in
Occidental Mindoro province in the Philippines.
As he began to doze off, he heard the men yelling. A bigger vessel
was bearing down on them. He stood up and tried to start his boat's
engine but it was too late.
There was a loud crash. His boat, the Gem-Vir, was wrenched from its
moorings. It spun violently and was dragged briefly. Water entered
through a hole on its stern and the boat began to sink, rear end first.
Luckily, Mr Insigne, 43, had dropped anchor at a shallow seamount,
called Reed Bank, in the South China Sea. A part of the boat's bow
remained above the waterline. Most of his men clung to it. Others hung
on to life rafts and whatever floating debris they could grab.
From their perches, the men saw the boat that rammed them circle back and shine a bright light on them. It had a steel hull.
They thought it would pluck them out of the water. Instead, it began to sail away, turning off the lights as it did.
They were Chinese," Mr Insigne told reporters on Friday. "We have seen them before."
he spotted a faint glow further out from where they were. He ordered two
of his men to take the small outrigger canoe that their boat had been
towing and paddle towards that light.
He knew it was another fishing boat. But he was not sure if it was a
"friendly" one or if it would remain there long enough for his men to
reach it. "We were fortunate the sea was calm," he said.
It took the two men two hours to reach the boat, which was from Vietnam. One of the men yelled: "Help me!"
The Vietnamese boat headed to where the Gem-Vir had dropped anchor
and plucked Mr Insigne and the rest of his crew from the water.
He insists his boat was sunk intentionally. "We had most of our
lights on. It was impossible for them not to have seen us," he said.
The Chinese have told a different story.
Last Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang
characterised the incident as "an ordinary maritime traffic accident".
A statement on the Facebook page of the Chinese embassy in Manila
late on Friday insisted there was no such thing as a "hit and run".
It said the fishing boat Yuemao-binyu 42212, from Guangdong province,
was "besieged by seven or eight" Philippine fishing boats when it
collided with the Gem-Vir.
It was not clear if the Gem-Vir was among the boats "besieging" the Chinese vessel.
The statement, which was later removed from Facebook, also said that
Yuemaobinyu sought to rescue the Gem-Vir's crew but could not because it
was being "besieged".
It decided to leave, but not before its crew saw the men from Gem-Vir being rescued by the other boats.
"That's a lie," Mr Felix de la Torre, the Gem-Vir's owner, told
reporters. He said his men were consistent in telling him that the
Chinese rammed their boat without provocation.
Mr Insigne said there were no other boats around the location.
Vice-Admiral Robert Empedrad, chief of the Philippine Navy, said: "The ship was rammed. This is not a normal maritime accident."
The incident has inflamed nationalist sentiments in the Philippines.
It is the latest confrontation involving China's vast fishing fleet,
which experts say has been co-opted to serve as Beijing's militia and
augment its constant coastguard presence in waters that are also claimed
by Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei. The incident
occurred in parts of the South China Sea that the Philippines and China
have been contesting.
Reed Bank, which spans nearly 9,000 sq km, is believed to hold up to
5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cu ft of natural gas.
The Philippines has been trying to survey the area since 2003. But it
had to suspend all drilling and exploration works in 2014, following
skirmishes with China's maritime fleet.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo has described
the Chinese trawler's act of abandoning the Gem-Vir's crew as
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called it a "cowardly action".
And Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said Manila has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing.
Yesterday, he announced on Twitter that the Philippines had sent a
letter to the London-based International Maritime Organisation to "draw
attention to the fact that the Filipino crew of the fishing vessel were
callously abandoned to the elements on the rough seas and would have
perished", had help not arrived just in time.
For Mr de la Torre, the Gem-Vir's owner, the issue is about more than
just losing his boat. "They should stop treating us like their
servants. They should stop acting like they own the entire sea," he
said, referring to the Chinese actions.
YES, F/B GEM-VER 1 SANK; RESCUERS REFLOATED BOAT
In the thick of the controversy which followed the sinking of a
Philippine fishing boat from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in the Recto
Bank, different versions of the story came out in the media.
While the Department of Agriculture, under which the Bureau of Fisheries
and Aquatic Resources belongs, defers to other competent agencies on
the security and diplomatic issues involved in the incident, the DA
would like to correct insinuations that the Filipino fishermen lied
about their narratives.
The DA has already submitted an official
report to President Rody Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador
Medialdea and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
For purposes of
transparency and clarity, the DA addresses and provides answers to some
questions raised based on data gathered.
Answer: The captain and crew of the fishing boat stated from the very
beginning that they were hit by a Chinese boat. The Chinese initially
said it was not certain but later on admitted that the vessel involved
in the "ramming" or collision incident was indeed a Chinese boat.
Whether it was an accidental collision or intentional ramming is an
issue that is better resolved through the conduct of a maritime
Answer: Yes, the captain and the crew said
they had to jump into the water because their boat sank. A photo
gathered by BFAR Director Elizer Salilig showed a sunken F/B GEN-VER 1
with its bow jutting out of the water. Rescuers later refloated the boat
and repaired its damaged tailfin.
Answer: Typical Filipino fishing boats have fish holds in the middle
portion of the vessel which is filled with ice blocks. That is where
they keep the fish for days, even weeks, before sailing back to shore. I
personally saw these fish holds in the fishing boats in Infanta,
Quezon. It is far from the stern and was not damaged by the impact,
No. All of them have returned to their families after they were given
assistance by DA-BFAR. They also asked for help to avail of the fishing
boats grant under President Duterte's F/B Pagbabago Program where poor
fishing families are provided with boats and fishing gears.
The DA-BFAR will schedule the distribution of the fishing boats very soon.
The DA-BFAR hopes that this statement will clarify all issues.
Manny Piñol Agriculture Secretary
Kapag media walang trauma, kapag Presidente ang kakausapin may trauma. Wait, what? 🤔
They want PRRD to speak, but PRRD wants to talk to the captain of the
ship first. Captain of the ship, who has been talking to the media,
won't, may "trauma" raw. 🤔
Kung gusto ninyong mabayaran, you have to prove in court that that happened. Eh meeting pa lang sa presidente umaatras na kayo?