Sunken boat incident not affecting business between PH, China

MANILA, Philippines – Despite news of the Philippine fishing boat sunk by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea dominating headlines and testing the Duterte administration, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (FFCCCII) President Henry Lim Bon Liong said business ties between the Philippines and China remain strong as ever.

"So far ang nakita namin wala. If you tell me it's [made] a dent? Wala," Liong said when asked about the state of business relations between the two countires following the incident.

(So far we don't not see its effect on business ties. If you tell me its [made] a dent? It hasn't.)

According to Liong, Chinese delegations continued scheduled business trips to the Philippines with no mention of the issue. For the Chinese, Liong said, the boat sinking in the West Philippine Sea was not big news to them. (READ: Duterte vs fishermen: Is the Philippines lawyering for China?)

"Malaking insidente sa Pilipinas, pero sa China, mga businessman diyan, I don't think may alam sila dito. Hindi nila alam ang nangyari sa Reed Bank. It's not a big issue [to them] siguro sa.. dami nilang ibang news," Liong said.

(It's a big incident in the Philippines, but in China, I don't think the businessmen there know about it. They're not aware of what happened in Reed (Recto) Bank. Perhaps it's not a big issue...there are lots of other news for them.)

Ramming near Recto Bank: On June 9, a Chinese fishing vessel rammed the rear of Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver near Recto Bank, an underwater formation which belongs to the Philippines.

After the collision, the Chinese abandoned the Filipino fishermen to sink with the boat. The Filipinos were able to survive by rowing to a Vietnamese fishing vessel 5 nautical miles away.

Gem-Ver was later salvaged by fellow Filipino fishermen who sailed to the wreckage, repaired parts of the boat which went under water, and hauled it back to its home port of Barangay San Roque in the municipality of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Damage to boat and loss of the fishermen's catch was estimated to cost some P2.2 million.

The FFCCIII on Friday extended P1.2 million for the repair of the boat, along with P250,000 for all 22 fishermen, and 50 sacks of rice. –

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at