China to educate, punish crew of vessel if they really abandoned Filipinos
The Chinese Embassy in Manila told the Philippine government that they will educate and punish the crew of the alleged Chinese fishing vessel if found guilty on abandoning Filipino fishermen in Recto Bank.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday shared to reporters the response of Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua which he said Thursday.
According to Zhao, the fishing boat issue is being thoroughly and seriously investigated.
"We share your concern about fishermen. If it were true that it was Chinese fishing boat which did it, they would be duly educated and punished for their irresponsible behavior," Zhao told Panelo in a text message.
"Incidents happen even in best regulated family. We hope this incident could be held in a proper context," he added.
Zhao made the response after Panelo said there is no need for the Malacanang to summon the Chinese ambassador.
"If he (Zhao) is listening now, he should explain," Panelo said in a press briefing.
Panelo had said if the incident is found to be intentional, the Philippine government may downgrade their diplomatic relations with China.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said Thursday a diplomatic protest against China has been filed.
It was during Independence Day when the incident was reported by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana said 22 Filipino crew were abandoned after a Chinese fishing vessel hit their boat was hit and sank last June 9.
Lorenzana thanked the Vietnamese crew who helped the Filipino fishermen and called for an investigation. Ella Dionisio/DMS