Duterte’s silence slammed; group warns vs. maritime hit-and-run as “new normal”

Duterte’s silence slammed; group warns vs. maritime hit-and-run as “new normal”

Manila, Philippines — The militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s silence on the recent maritime collision sinking a Filipino fishing vessel with the fishermen remain missing by a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship with Chinese crew.

The incident, which the fishers group called as a “hit-and-run”, happened on the midnight of June 27 off the waters of Mindoro Occidental resulting to 14 Filipino fishing crew missing up until now.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said that it expected the president to lay down his actions on the missing fishing crew as he announced in one of his infamous late night talks the new community quarantine status on Tuesday.

“In his recent late night talk, President Duterte has not once expressed even mild concern about the fate of the 14 missing fishing crew which fell victim to a maritime hit-and-run incident which involves a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship just days prior,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA earlier chided Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque for downplaying the maritime tragedy as a mere “banggaan lang”, saying the remark was a cover up for the Chinese perpetrators.

“President Duterte’s silence is a blatant attempt to downplay the incident and encourages Chinese and other foreign vessels to belittle the safety of our fishermen. This is very similar to the F/B Gem-Ver incident where Mr. Duterte was silent for days and came up with a statement that was meant to exonerate the Chinese perpetrators,” added Hicap, referring to the maritime hit-and-run in Recto Bank that endangered the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen last year.

“We demand the government not to make this maritime collision that put our fishers at disadvantage a new normal, and instead help provide justice for the 14 Filipino fishing crew. Among other things, we need the government to exert more effort to locate them,” ended Hicap. ###

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