Senator Grace Poe on Friday urged government authorities to augment and mobilize resources to scour the waters for 14 Filipinos missing after their fishing boat collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel off the coast of Mindoro.
“Every day counts. We should not let down the families of the 14 Filipinos awaiting the safe return of their loved ones,” she said.
Poe noted that all-out efforts for an exhaustive and wide search will increase the chance of finding the missing fishers and added that even coastal communities are volunteering to be on the lookout for signs.
“In this situation, we need true all-hands-on-deck efforts. We must keep searching,” she said.
Poe said the government should make available any assistance needed by the families of the fishermen as they keep their hopes alive.
The Philippine Coast Guard, she said, should also seek help for sea and air assets of neighboring countries as the search has become a race against the clock.
While life at sea is not easy, the country’s fishermen continue to brave its perils and pitfalls to provide food for their families.
Poe said the investigation being conducted by the Coast Guard should be extensive to determine the real cause of the incident, the immediate action taken on the ground and possible liabilities.
“The public expect no let-up in the search for our countrymen as we await the result of the investigation that will shed light on the real incident and hold the erring party liable for this mishap,” Poe added
For her part, Sen. Leila de Lima said if what happened was a mere collision, why did the Chinese vessel not rescue the Filipino fishermen?
De Lima considered it an insult to our fishermen when they were driven away from our own sea and our government failed to defend them.
“Kung ang bumunggo ay private vessel, at hindi sanctioned ng China, dapat panagutin ang private vessel, hindi yung mabilis pa sa alas-kwatro na sinasalag n’yo ang pananagutan nila. Ano, feelings na naman ng China?” she said.