MANILA — The captain of a Filipino fishing vessel that crashed with a Chinese ship will no longer meet with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday; his wife stated.
F/B GEM-VIR1 Captain Junel Insigne on Sunday stated he was supposed to go to Manila and voice to Duterte how the Chinese trawler hit their boat and abandoned them near Recto (Reed) Bank last June 10.
Insigne, who is from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, was on his way to neighboring Calapan town to catch a boat, when his wife called him over the phone, telling him to just go home after learning that a special Cabinet meeting about the collision was cancelled.
There were no other direct details about Insigne’s conversation with his wife, but the couple earlier expressed dismay over a remark by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The fisherman on Sunday stated that Cusi, in a closed-door meeting, told the crew members of GEM-VIR1 that the impact may not have been intentional because only the stern of the boat was hit.
The 22 fishermen were saved by a Vietnamese boat and brought home Friday aboard a Philippine navy vessel.
The Philippine coast guard has begun an investigation of the incident which Duterte’s spokesman branded as “outrageous and barbaric”.
Duterte has yet to make any remark but recently criticized China’s assertive stance over the sea.
“I love China… but it behooves upon us to ask, ‘Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?'” he stated in a speech last month.
Manila’s Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin noted this week that he had made a diplomatic protest with China over the sinking.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated on Thursday termed the incident “an ordinary maritime traffic accident”.
Geng stated it was reckless for the Philippines to “politicize the incident without verification”.