Senators want stiff penalty vs. foreign oil tanker involved in ramming of PH boat

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Lawmakers on Wednesday called for a stiff penalty against the crew of a foreign oil tanker if they are proven to have abandoned the fishermen of the Filipino vessel their ship rammed in Bajo de Masinloc.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported that three fishermen died after their vessel was rammed by oil tanker Pacific Anna, registered in the Marshall Islands, in Bajo de Masinloc located in the West Philippine Sea on Oct. 2. It relayed that the 11 fishermen who survived the incident said they used their own small service boats to transport the bodies of their fallen companions to Infanta, Pangasinan.

RELATED: 3 dead after foreign vessel rams PH boat off Bajo de Masinloc

Sen. Hontiveros condemned the crew of the oil tanker.

"It is deplorable that the vessel left the Filipino fishing boat and our citizens in the water. This despicable act is an affront to all Filipinos," she said in a statement.

Fellow opposition senator Koko Pimentel also said, "The still seaworthy other vessel should have extended assistance to those in distress."

Other lawmakers asked the government to conduct a swift investigation to find out what happened and if the oil tanker crew abandoned the Filipino fishermen.

"While the details remain unclear at this point, what is clear is that there has been a disregard for the lives of our fisherfolk, who are simply making a livelihood in our own sea," said Senate President Migz Zubiri. "If it was an accident, we must figure out whether there was any attempt to assist our fisherfolk at all, as should have been done under international humanitarian laws.”

Senator Francis Tolentino, who heads the special panel on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones, emphasized the need for Congress to pass the Maritime Zones Bill that would establish the country's legal bases for activities that could be conducted in these areas.

"The need to protect our fisherfolk and our marine resources cannot be overemphasized thru the passage of our own Maritime zone law and the procurement of the necessary equipment for our Coast Guard as well," he said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured the government will exhaust all efforts to hold accountable those who are responsible for the maritime incident. He also said the administration will assist the victims and their families.