MANILA - A lawmaker on Tuesday called on government agencies and residents along the coast of Occidental Mindoro to help search for the Filipino fishermen who went missing after their boat collided with a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel in the province's waters.
Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, in a statement, appealed to the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to intensify their efforts to find the missing 14 people.
"Nakikiusap din po tayo sa mga kababayan natin sa baybayin na malapit sa pinangyarihan ng insidente na tulungan ang mga naghahanap sa mga nawawala at pansamantalang kupkupin ang mga mapapadpad sa kanilang lugar," he added.
(We are also asking our countrymen living in the coast nearby the scene of the incident to help those who are missing and temporarily house them.)
The Filipino fishing vessel Liberty 5 capsized after it collided with the Hong Kong-based MV Vienna Wood N early Sunday off the coast of Occidental Mindoro province. The captain of Vienna Wood called for help "a few hours later", the PCG earlier said.
Twelve crew members and two passengers of the Filipino fishing boat remain missing. The search for the 14 entered its third day on Tuesday.
Alvarez said those responsible for the incident should be held liable.
"Mabigyan nawa ng hustisya ang mga biktima at magkaroon ng proteksyon ang mga maliliit na mangingisda upang hindi na po maulit ang ganitong pangyayari," he said.
(May the victims have justice, and may the fishermen receive protection so this type of incident won't happen again.)
The lawmaker also called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to coordinate with Hong Kong authorities to help the affected families.
The Chinese embassy in Manila has said it is ready to assist the Philippines investigate the collision.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the national government to stop downplaying the incident, after Palace officials said it is not expected to dent ties between China and the Philippines as it was "only a collision."