MANILA, Philippines – Fishermen from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro lost P2.2 million worth of fish and supplies after a Chinese vessel rammed their boat in the West Philippine Sea, according to the estimate of Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol and one of the boat’s owners, Arlinda dela Torre.
In a press briefing on Monday, June 17, Piñol and Dela Torre said the amount came from the following:
- Boat’s repairs – P700,000
- Lost fish – P1,000,000
- Lost supplies and capital – P500,000
F/B Gem-Ver was brought down by a Chinese ship near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea on June 9, which then abandoned the Filipinos who floated for hours before being rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel.
The Chinese rammed a hole through Gem-Ver’s rear causing it to sink, spoiling 12 days of voyage that harvested “high-value” fish, and wasting supplies.
The Filipino fishing boat was supposed to stay for at least 15 days before returning to its home port in San Jose. The Chinese boat rammed it on the 12th day.
Gem-Ver crewmen told Rappler in earlier interviews that they lost at least 5 of their small fishing boats attached to the mother boat on the night of the incident.
Aside from the gaping hole in its stern, the F/B Gem-Ver’s engine and all its electrical equipment were either broken or washed away in the West Philippine Sea. (IN PHOTOS: Aboard the Philippine boat sunk by a Chinese ship)
The lost supplies and capital, meanwhile, include the packed food for the fishermen and supplies used for the weeks-long fishing expedition.
Piñol said he will forward the concerns of the fishermen to Duterte. He said Duterte has been silent because he has been trying to understand the incident “from all angles.” It has been 8 days since the sinking incident and Duterte has yet to issue a public statement.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, a key defender of the West Philippine Sea, earlier urged the Philippine government to demand compensation from China after the incident.
“The Filipino people must take a strong stand against this latest aggressive act of China. The Filipino people must demand from China compensation for the owner of F/B Gem-Ver 1, and punishment for the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel that rammed in hit-and-run fashion F/B Gem-Ver 1,” Carpio said in a statement on June 14. – Rappler.com