Manila, Philippines – Congressmen have crossed partylines to issue a strong call for restraint after a Chinese vessel reportedly intentionally collided with a Filipino fishing boat near the disputed Panatag Shoal last Sunday, killing one local fisherman.
House Assistant Majority Leader Karlo Nograles and Reps. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon party-list) and Mark Llandro Mendoza (NPC, Batangas) called for a United Nations (UN)sanctioned investigation on the incident.
They also urged Filipinos not to react to the incident while waiting for the results of the investigation.
Opposition Rep. Catalina Bagasina (ALE party-list) called for immediate diplomatic dialogue between the Philippines and China to determine the truth about the incident.
“There is no reason to react until everything is cleared and the truth about the incident has been determined,“ said Bagasina, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Nograles said the international community should not be complacent about the latest incident of Filipino fishermen at the receiving end of the Panatag shoal conflict.
The Davao City solon said the Philippine government’s show of good faith in efforts to resolve the conflict in a peaceful manner should prod the Chinese to do the same.
“If this incident was deliberate and was sanctioned by the Chinese government, this is a clear act of aggression against another sovereign nation. This is an act of war,“ said Nograles.
Herrera-Dy said the DFA should be allowed “to do the talking,“ adding that all other Filipino officials should restrain themselves from issuing statements that might further create intrigue between the two countries. (Ben R. Rosario)
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