MANILA - Philippine authorities are investigating the collision of a Hong Kong cargo ship and a Philippine fishing boat in the waters of Occidental Mindoro last Sunday, officials said Wednesday.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Manila was "going to find out" if the incident would warrant a diplomatic note.
The Philippines had protested the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese trawler near Recto Bank last year. The Filipino fishermen were left at sea by the Chinese crew and were rescued by Vietnamese fishers.
“If there’s a diplomatic note that’s required, it will be sent. But again it happened in Mindoro waters and I don’t wanna make those Mindoro waters into international waters just to please a few idiots back here," Locsin said.
"So we’re gonna find out, if one is called for, then it will be done because certainly, I don’t hesitate to send those things,” he added.
"In that respect, it has nothing to do with the South China Sea. Whether or not China was there, a fishing boat would have been hit by a commercial vessel especially one that large."
The incident was being investigated by the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, and transportation department, according to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.
“This is no different from any other incident involving vessels within Philippine territory. Nandito na po sa loob iyon,” he said.
The Chinese Embassy on Tuesday offered assistance as Philippine authorities investigate the collision and asked “all parties” to “refrain from politicalizing the issue and seeking narrow interests from such a humanitarian tragedy.”
The embassy, meantime, said the Chinese fishing association is waiting for formal feedback from the Philippines on its offer of compensation over the Recto Bank incident last year.
“In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, we believe the incident will be solved in a proper manner,” it said.