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Solon: Justice for fishers killed in ‘hit-run’ at sea

October 5, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 362 views

A BICOLANO lawmaker has said those responsible for the death of three fishermen in a ramming incident off Scarborough Shoal should be held accountable for their actions and face stiffer penalties for leaving the scene.

“Nakikiramay po tayo sa mga pamilya at mahal sa buhay ng mga kababayan nating mangingisda na nasawi matapos banggain ang kanilang bangka ng isang oil tanker.

Ipinagdarasal natin na mabigyan ng hustisya ang kanilang pagkamatay sa lalong madaling panahon,” AGRI Rep. Wilbert T. Lee, who hails from Sorsogon, said.

“Sa puntong ito, immaterial na kung sinadya man o hindi ang pangyayari dahil iniwan ng mga may sala ang mga biktima nila. Malinaw na malinaw po na hit and run ang ginawa nila kaya sana mas mabigat ang maging parusa sa kanila,” he added.

The three fisherfolk died when their boat, moored 85 nautical miles northwest of Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, sank after it was rammed by a crude oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands. All fatalities are from Zambales.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the Filipino fishermen may have been asleep when the ramming happened, which occurred before dawn on Monday, October 2.

Lee said if the incident really had been an accident, those manning the oil tanker should have stayed and helped the survivors.

“Kapag may aksidente, the instinct is to check kung may nasugatan o may napinsala ba, and then to help. Pero itong mga walang konsensiya, tinakbuhan nila ang responsibilidad nilang tumulong,” the Bicolano lawmaker lamented.

Lee said the government should exhaust all means to obtain justice for the families of the killed fishermen, who are dependent on authorities to go after the liable parties.

According to Lee, “in our country, justice has always been elusive for those without resources. ‘Pag wala kang pera o wala kang kilala, wala kang laban. Sana ipaglaban sila ng ating gobyerno.”

The PCG has already stated it would “reach out to the flag of the vessel and the next port to be visited by the vessel to be boarded by the Port State Control Officers.”

“Umaasa tayo na magiging mabilis at masusi ang imbestigasyon sa pangyayaring ito dahil galing na mismo kay Pangulong Bongbong Marcos ang utos at pagtiyak na pananagutin ang mga may-sala,” Lee said.

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