Philippines to prod China again over compensation for GEM-VER fishermen

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 11:47 AM | Updated as of Jun 22 2020 12:10 PM

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MANILA — The Philippines will again bring to China's attention the payment of damages to the crew of a Philippine boat that a Chinese vessel sunk last year in waters where Manila has exclusive rights over resources. 

The suspected Chinese militia vessel left 22 Filipino fishermen of F/B GEM-VER adrift for hours on June 9, 2019 after the sinking of their boat near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. 

"China has responded. They have said that it is the fault of the Chinese vessel and the question is the damages. And now that you mentioned it, okay, I’ll bring it up again," Locsin told ANC. 

Manila's Department of Justice will determine the damages, given that the boat belongs to a private company, he said. 

"The question is, are you gonna to give it to the company or are you gonna give it to the fishermen," he said. "I’m sure they’ll (DOJ) come up with it very soon." 
 
A private Chinese association earlier gave a boat to the Filipino crewmen, said Locsin. 

"But that is not the compensation required... It should come from the vessel owner, not somebody else's generosity in China," he said. 

A Vietnamese vessel rescued the crew of GEM-VER. Vietnam also has overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, over which Beijing says its has "historic rights." 

The United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 junked China's sweeping claims to the waterway, where $3 trillion in ship-borne trade pass through it every year. Beijing has refused to organize the ruling.