President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his gratitude to the Vietnamese crew who saved the Filipino fishermen abandoned by the Chinese.
The President on Sunday coursed his appreciation to Vietnam through its Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit Retreat in Bangkok, Thailand.
“President Duterte took the occasion to thank the captain and crew of the Vietnamese fishing vessel who saved our fishermen near Recto Bank, stating that this act of kindness and compassion will always be remembered by the Philippines and its people,” Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a statement.
Around midnight of June 10, a Chinese vessel hit the anchored Fishing Boat (F/B) GEM-VER near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) — just 85 nautical miles away from Palawan, well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The 22 fishermen had struggled to stay afloat in the cold sea for almost three hours before they were able to seek help from a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The owner of the Vietnamese boat said two men on board small boats waved their hands in request for help, pointing towards Recto Bank. Despite their fear that the two men could be pirates, they decided to head to the direction the men were pointing to — rescuing the 20 other Filipino fishermen.
Duterte has agreed with China that a joint investigation should be conducted on the boat allision at Recto Bank, adding that a “neutral country” should be part of the probe.
This article was originally published on CNN Philippines on June 24, 2019.