Fisherfolk joins China, Taiwan in condemning PH Coastguard shooting of Taiwanese fisherman

THE fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday echoed the condemnation issued by Chinese and Taiwanese officials on the fatal shooting of a 65-year old Taiwanese fisherman by members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), saying the Manila government led by Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III should take full responsibility and ensure justice will be served to the victim and his relatives.

“The Philippine Coast Guard should cease and desist from issuing alibis and fabricating tall tales to justify their criminal and brutal act assassination of an aging Taiwanese fisherman. The fact is established that  members of the PCG peppered the Taiwanese fishing vessel with bullets that led to the tragic death of a 65-year old fisherman. The Philippine President should stop defending his trigger happy personnel in Philippine Navy and face the consequence of this murderous escapade of his men under the principle of command responsibility,” said Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chairperson said in a statement.

The Pamalakaya leader rebuked early claims of the Philippine authority that the shooting was done in the name of self-defense.

“Self-defense? It is hard to believe that story given the sheer arrogance and racist mindset of local military when it comes to our Asian neighbors. For them, only the military ships of Washington D.C are free to explore and exploit the country’s territorial waters and the rest of the disputed areas in West Philippine Sea, and the rest are objects of intimidation and harassment of  US local puppet troops,” added France.

The PCG explained that it had acted in self-defense and were only performing their duty of stopping illegal fishing and poaching inside Philippine territory. Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena of the PCG told media it ordered a thorough investigation, and the 11 PCG personnel on board the MCS 3001, the vessel involved, have been relieved.

The 30-meter-long MCS 3001 belongs to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The Philippine ship is jointly operated  by personnel from the PCG and the BFAR.  The fishery bureau also relieved employees on board the vessel pending the results of the investigation, said BFAR Director Asis Perez, and the MCS 3001’s commanding officer has already been directed to come to Manila to explain the incident.

A China Post report identified the name of the Taiwanese fishing vessel as Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28. According to the report the vessel was fishing 315 kilometers  (170 nautical miles) off the southern tip of Taiwan “when the Philippine authorities attacked them.

The sailor of the Taiwanese ship said “Philippine naval forces” opened fire with machine guns without any warning, killing Hung Shih-chen, 65, the father of the boat’s skipper.

Another witness told China Post that the fishing boat was attacked by Philippine naval cannon. Taiwan’s coast guard dispatched a vessel to rescue the fishing boat which suffered engine failure after the alleged attack, the China Post report said. Two Taiwanese fishing vesels helped to tow the Kuan Ta Hsing No. 28 back to Taiwan under escort of the CGA, the paper reported.

The incident occurred in waters off northern Philippines— 80 km (43 nautical miles) off the Philippines’ Balintang Channel and 315 km (170 nautical miles) southeast of Taiwan—where the economic zones of the Philippines and Taiwan, extending 370 km (200 nautical miles) from shore, overlap.

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