‘Special probe’ on ramming incident off Pangasinan eyed by Senate

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Senator Francis Tolentino on Saturday raised the possibility of conducting a Senate special investigation on the ramming incident off the waters of Agno, Pangasinan, which resulted in the deaths of three Filipino fishermen. 

Tolentino, chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said a special probe can also help in establishing the country’s ‘archipelagic sea lane’ to avoid similar incidents in the future. 

“Ang pakay dito ay ang pagbubuo ng archipelagic sea lanes. Ang ibig sabihin po nito ay iyong talagang daanan—dito dadaan yong mga barkong domestic, foreign at international vessels na malalaki, nang sa ganun alam ng ating mangingisda kung saan dadaan at makakaiwas sa isa’t isa,” said Tolentino.

“The objective here is to configure the archipelagic sea lanes. This would mean the definite lane—here, the domestic, foreign ships, and international vessels, which are big, would pass so that our fishermen know where to pass and avoid each other.)

The lawmaker added that he is weighing the idea of whether to start the investigation while still waiting for reports from concerned entities required by international rules.

“So, habang hindi po nakakalap yon, ito po yong wine-weigh in ko kung sisimulan na ang imbestigasyon,” he said.

(So, while those have not been obtained yet, I am weighing in if I have to start the investigation.)

Previously, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa called for a thorough investigation into the ramming incident to avoid any geopolitical implications.

Dela Rosa said he will also file a resolution in relation to the ramming incident.

“Magpa-file tayo para maimbestigahan kung sino talaga ang responsible (We will file a resolution to investigate who is really responsible for this)… It’s a very unfortunate incident dahil (because) you know fishermen went there for a living ‘di ba, and they ended up dying. It has to be investigated thoroughly by our authorities,” Dela Rosa told reporters in a phone interview.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday said that the fatal ramming incident was an “accident.”

The PCG is also set to conduct an operation to retrieve the ill-fated Filipino boat, FB Dearyn, for its investigation. The coast guard also said that the family of the owner of the boat wants to restore the vessel and use it again.

According to the PCG, the incident happened approximately 180 nautical miles off Agno, Pangasinan. It added that the fishing boat was moored 85 nautical miles northwest of Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc, when it was rammed by an oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

Several senators have called on authorities to seek justice for the deaths of the three Filipino fishermen. —VAL, GMA Integrated News

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