If ramming by Chinese ship ''intentional'', Philippines may ''cut'' diplomatic ties with China: Panelo
If the collision at the Recto Bank where 22 Filipino fishermen were abandoned by a suspected Chinese vessel is found to be intentional, Malacanang on Thursday said they might ''cut off'' diplomatic relations with China.
"If it's intentional, it's (an) act of aggression... what will be the next step? We will cut off the diplomatic relations. That's the first move if there are aggressive acts," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.
Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a diplomatic protest.
"We will not allow ourselves to be insulted, to be bullied, to be the subject of such barbaric, uncivilized, and outrageous actions from any source," he said.
Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte was informed about the incident and it's up to him what actions he wants to consider.
Panelo said they are calling the attention of the Chinese government to probe the incident and impose sanctions against those who are at fault.
"We don't know if it's intentional or if the Chinese government has a sanction. Who owns that, a private vessel or ship? That's why we are asking for an investigation. We are calling their attention to do something about it, we want to know (what happen)," he said.
Panelo said the government is also conducting an investigation on their part to determine if it's an act of aggression.
He added there is no need to summon Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and it will be up to the president if he wants to have a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
"If he (Zhao) is listening now, he should explain," said Panelo.
Panelo said they can consider joint military patrol with other claimants if it can be helpful in maintaining peace in the disputed waters.
"As far as we are concerned, we will not allow our sovereignty to be trash upon by any foreign country," he said.
Panelo, in a statement, said concerned agencies of the government immediately responded to the situation and are providing assistance to the Filipino crewmen who were rescued.
"We express our sincere gratitude to the seamen of a Vietnamese vessel who rendered relief services to the distressed Filipino fishermen following the collision," he said.
Duterte last month downgraded diplomatic ties with Canada after it failed to retrieve tons of trash they shipped in the country.
An order was released preventing government officials from going to Canada for official visit. Relations were restored to normal after tons of trash were shipped to Canada. Ella Dionisio/DMS