March 19, 2016 Blog
In light of the misplaced and undisguised glee by which some of my fellow Filipinos greeted a sinking of a Chinese fishing vessel off the waters of Argentina, and the many Facebook comments about Chinese Coast Guard hosing reported Filipino fishing boats, I recall the very embarrassing incident of our Philippine Coast Guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman and causing the country international opprobrium, compelling our nation to apologize and then after much embarrassing hemming and hawing paying compensation.
Most of my compatriots also won’t remember how Malaysia arrested a Filipino fishing boat with a few dozen crew, impounding the vessel at gunpoint, jailing the fishermen for one year that caused one death in jail of a Filipino fisherman. This was about a decade and a half ago. Such an incident shouldn't be forgotten but many of my fellow Filipinos don’t have long memories… just what the Inquirer and ABS-CBN incites in them at the moment.
The item below is from World Socialist Website where I chose to recall the news item and not from Philippine newspapers which persistently show unmitigated bias when reporting on fisheries issues with Philippine neighbors China and Taiwan:
Philippine coast guard kills Taiwanese fisherman in disputed waters
By Joseph Santolan
14 May 2013
Relations between Taiwan and the Philippines soured dramatically over the weekend, in the wake of the Philippine shooting and killing an unarmed Taiwanese fisherman in disputed waters between the two countries. Taipei has demanded that Manila issue an apology, punish those responsible, and compensate the victims by May 15 or the Taiwanese government will place a ban on the entry of any new Filipino workers to the country.
On May 7, the China Daily reported that a flotilla of thirty Chinese fishing vessels was sailing for the disputed South China Sea to conduct a forty-day fishing expedition. The announcement occurred in the final days before the May 13 interim elections in the Philippines; politicians and the Philippine press competed with each other to denounce this as an “invasion” of Philippine waters, and called upon President Aquino’s government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prevent it.
No group was more strident than Akbayan, a “left” political party formed in the break-up of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines and now a coalition partner with President Aquino’s Liberal Party. Their congressional representative, Walden Bello, stated: “This is tantamount to an invasion. Now they are sending their fishing vessels. If we don't act strongly to defend and secure our sovereignty, soon they might send their naval warships and troops as well."
He called on the Philippine Coast Guard to “seize any Chinese vessel” and “arrest its crew….”
The discipline Chinese Cost Guard thankfully doesn’t do what this Filipino rabble-rousing politician advised his Coast Guard to do…
Just below is the photo of the body bag holding the victim of our Philippine Coast Guard’s ill-disciplined behavior:
You could also watch the You Tube video of the actual shooting by the Philippine Coast Guard –
Some of my Filipino compatriots, I hope few although I believe it’s the majority, are vehemently denouncing and circulating You Tube videos of PROC Coast Guard vessels hosing down with sea water reported Filipino fishing boats passing close to their ships. But the water hosing, whatever the reason as these can only be clarified by investigation and objective reportage, is certainly more appropriate than firing of machine guns at unarmed fishing vessels whatever the perceived violation if any.
Just recently a Chinese fishing vessel was reportedly sunk off in the territorial waters of Argentina by the Argentine Coast Guard, and I read many of my Filipino compatriots also rejoiced. The Argentinians rescued the fishermen and there was no casualty. Still, it is not an accepted practice to sink an unarmed civilian ship and investigation will have to be conducted. The only possible justification for shooting an unarmed civilian ship is if there is an attempt to act with hostility such as intending to ram the Coast Guard ship.
I can assure my Filipino compatriots that there are many Philippine fishing boats vulnerable to the charge of fishing in territorial waters in neighboring countries, such as in disputed waters of some less obvious countries with conflicting claims such as Malaysia, and then actual illegal fishing in the waters of Indonesia and all the way to Papua New Guinea. Someday the victimized fishermen’s shoes will be on Philippine feet again. ###