By Genalyn Kabiling
The collision between a Filipino fishing boat and a foreign vessel off Mindoro coast will be governed by the country’s maritime laws, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there would be “no application” of international laws on the latest incident other than the foreign-flagged ships could sail under the concept of innocent passage.
“This is a matter to be governed by Philippine law. This is an issue of Philippine admiralty law because the collision occurred in Philippine territorial waters,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“As far as accountability is concerned, mga Pilipino ang magdedesisyon diyan dahil ang banggaan ay nangyari sa ating karagatan (As far as accountability is concerned, Filipinos will decide on that because the collision occurred in our waters),” he added.
Roque also brushed off concerns that the latest ship collision might severely affect the country’s relations with China.
“Bangaan yan sa ating karagatan so ireresolba yan sang ayon sa batas ng admiralty na tinatawag natin (The ship collision in our sea will be resolved based on our admiralty laws),” he said.
“Alam ninyo ang rules ng banggaan sa karagatan, parehong-pareho rin ‘yan ng rules na ina-apply ‘pag may banggaan sa kalye. So, wala naman pong malaking implikasyon yan. Bangaan lang po ‘yan (You know the rules of sea collision are similar to the rules to road mishaps. So there is no huge implication. It’s just a collision),” he said.
Fourteen people are reported missing after a fishing boat collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel off the coast of Occidental Mindoro last Sunday. The Philippine Coast Guard has launched search and rescue operations following the latest sea incident.