ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro (Rep. Castro’s office)
Deputy Minority leader ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro wants the House of Representatives to investigate the death of three Filipino fishermen following a boat-ramming incident in Bajo de Masinloc.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this act and we are calling on Congress to probe this incident. We also hope that the funds for the Philippine Coast Guard would be increased,” Castro said in a statement.
According to the Makabayan solon, the incident “highlights the need for more Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrols in our waters”.
According to an initial report from the PCG, a surviving crew member of the fishing boat Dearyn said their mother boat was rammed at around 4:30 am on Monday, Oct. 2, while it was preparing to fish some 85 nautical miles northwest of the shoal. The mother boat sank, killing three of its crew members including its captain.
The incident was reported to the PCG at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, after the 11 surviving crew members of the Dearyn and their three dead finally made their way to Barangay Cato, Infanta, Pangasinan.
“The PCG said the foreign commercial vessel was identified as the Pacific Anna, a crude oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands. Given that commercial vessels have the right of innocent passage, the incident could have been prevented if there were more PCG patrols in Bajo de Masinloc, aside from preventing such accidents they can also be more effective in protecting our waters and our fisherfolk,” the teacher-solon explained.
Also known as Scarborough Shoal, Bajo de Masinloc is a traditional fishing area of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). It is a disputed area in the greater South China Sea.