Fishers group demands assessment on wrecked Chinese donated boat, relief for communities affected by the tidal waves in Mindoro
Manila, Philippines — As photos of the donated fishing boat F/B Pengyou being cut in half due big tidal waves that hit the island of Mindoro are posted, the fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) demanded an assessment of its total wreckage, as well as immediate relief to communities damaged by the tidal waves brought about by typhoon Quiel last Friday. The F/B Pengyou was the boat donated by Chinese tycoon Xue Chengbiao, chair and founder of Shanghai Jucheng Group to the 22 fishermen victims of the ramming incident on June 9 in Recto Bank.
“Based on the photos of the damaged F/B Pengyou, it was made of wood. It it was made of fiber glass, the damage might not be that serious,” Pamalakaya-Pilipinas and former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
He added that as it is a total wreck, it appears that Chinese “friendly generosity” has expired. Pengyou in Chinese means friend and connotes cooperation, generosity and friendship.
The owning family of the F/B Gem-ver 1 refused to accept the donated boat as they see it as “useless” and “too weak” for open sea expeditions such as in Recto Bank, a rich fishing ground, as revealed by one of fishermen victims.
“The Chinese ‘apology’ has not reached to a degree that guaranteed the long-life of the donated boat. Aside from the grave assault on the Filipino fishing rights in the ramming incident, the Chinese aggression has disrupted the fishing livelihood of communities. This issue will never end unless Chinese vessels totally pull-out from the country’s exclusive economic zones which are traditional fishing grounds of Filipino fishermen,” Hicap said.
Moreover, Pamalakaya demanded the immediate relief to fisherfolk communities in Occidental Mindoro affected by the tidal waves caused by the typhoon Quiel. Hit towns were Paluan, Mamburao, Sta. Cruz, Rizal and Sablayan. Paluan local officials reported that a five-meter tidal wave destroyed 26 houses, while damaging 50, in 10 of its coastal barangays. Fifty-eight fishing boats were also damaged.
“We demand immediate relief and rehabilitation for the affected fisherfolk communities. The sector has been already hammered by the man-made plunder of Chinese vessels in our fishing grounds, thus, vulnerability to natural calamities is aggravation. We hope that they do not fall into another round of injustice such as government neglect and abandonment,” Hicap ended. ###