Occidental Mindoro town mayor to Duterte: Let’s speak out against China

Rambo Talabong
‘Ipakita natin ‘yung ating muscle. Kung wala man tayong muscle sa giyera eh sa bunganga man lang,’ says the mayor of San Jose, the home port of the fishing boat sunk by a Chinese vessel

CALL FOR ACTION. San Jose, Occidental Mindoro Mayor Romulo Festin speaks to reporters onboard BRP Tausug. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rapper

OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – The mayor of San Jose town here, the home port of the 22-person crew of the sunken Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver, is demanding action from President Rodrigo Duterte and the national government.

The Gem-Ver was rammed from the rear by a Chinese ship on June 9 while it was anchored near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The errant ship then left, leaving the 22 Filipinos in the open seas. 

San Jose Mayor Romulo Festin said there was no need to go to war. Speaking out would be enough.

Ipakita natin ‘yung ating muscle. May muscle din tayo kahit sa bibig. Kung wala man tayong muscle sa giyera eh sa bunganga man lang at sa tinatawag na proper court kung saan dapat dalhin ‘yan,” Festin said Friday, June 14.

(Let’s show our muscle. We also have muscles in our mouth, even if we don’t have muscles for war. Let’s at least use those in our mouth and bring this to the proper court where it should be brought.)

While he had heard of a statement from Malacañang, Festin said he was still waiting for President Duterte himself to speak out. (READ: 3 speeches in a row, Duterte silent on Chinese ship sinking PH vessel)

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>WATCH: San Jose, Occidental Mindoro Mayor Festin calls on Duterte gov&#39;t to show &quot;muscle in their mouths&quot; if not &quot;muscle in the military&quot; in fighting for sovereign rights in the West PH Sea. <a href=”https://t.co/oZSOmcamP7″>pic.twitter.com/oZSOmcamP7</a></p>&mdash; Rambo Talabong (@ramboreports) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ramboreports/status/1139355457795964928?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 14, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>{/source}

Mayor Festin spoke to reporters while aboard the Philippine Navy’s BRP Tausug, which was sent here Thursday, June 13, to fetch the crew of Gem-Ver

The men of the Gem-Ver were “left to the elements” after the incident, according to the Navy, before a Vietnamese fishing vessel came to their rescue. (READ: AFP: Chinese vessel’s sinking of PH boat ‘far from accidental’)

Sana ‘wag mapabayaan itong kaso na ito, at saka gawing transparent para ang lahat ng mga concerned dito – lahat ng mga Pilipino concerned eh – para maintindihan at walang agam-agam,” the mayor said.

(I hope this incident won’t be neglected. And I hope our government will be transparent about this for all the people concerned here – all Filipinos are actually concerned – so that there won’t be any doubts.) – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.