Youth stand behind Filipino fishermen, for sovereignty — Elago

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Youth stand behind Filipino fishermen, for sovereignty — Elago

(Philstar.com) – June 19, 2019 – 9:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino youth stand with the crew of F/B Gem-Ver 1 in seeking accountability for the allision near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list) said Wednesday after the oath-taking for her second term in Congress.

In a video interview posted by News5, Elago said that it is important to let the 22 Filipino fishermen involved in the allision know that young Filipinos are with them, saying also in Filipino that “many others stand behind them in demanding accountability for what happened at the Reed Bank.”

The statement comes as the Duterte administration tempers initial statements condemning the abandonment by a Chinese vessel of the crew of the Gem-Ver when it sank after being hit.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who initially said President Rodrigo Duterte was outraged by the incident, now says the Chinese crew were not obligated to help if they believed rescuing the 22 Filipino fishermen on the Gem-Ver put them in danger.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana—the first to condemn the Chinese vessel’s abandonment of the Filipinos in a statement on June 12—said Thursday that he now believes the incident was an accident.

The military’s Western Command said last week that it believes the ramming was “far from accidental” and pointed out that the Chinese vessel should have stopped and rescued the Filipinos.

RELATED: Palace unsure of Filipino fishers’ account on Recto Bank incident

“Isa rin itong wake-up call sa ating mga kababayang Pilipino na marami pa tayong kinakailangan na pagkilos sa kabila na naipanalo natin ang laban sa West Philippine Sea sa [Permanent Court of Arbitration],” Elago also said.

(This is also a wake-up call for our fellow Filipinos that we have much to do despite the victory on the West Philippine Sea at the Permanent Court of Arbitration)

“Kinakailangan na magpatuloy ang mga protesta, kinakailangan magpatuloy ang mga aksyon para maipakita na ang mga Pilipino ay nagmamahal sa bayan at handang tumindig para sa Pilipinas,” she added.

(We need to keep protesting, we need to continue our actions to show that Filipinos love their country and are ready to stand up for the Philippines)

Elago took her oath of office before Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, whom she said is among those who have consistently fought to protect Philippine sovereignty.

“Kabataan party-list, as the genuine youth representation in Congress, wants to send a strong message that the Filipino youth are resolute, decisive and ready to stand with all those who have long fought and and are working to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.

Carpio: Next generation must build on foundation of sea ruling

Carpio, after the oath-taking, said: “We have to continue defending West Philippine Sea because that’s our duty.”

“My generation laid the foundation by winning the arbitral ruling that the West Philippine Sea belongs to the Philippines—and the next generation, including your generation, must build on this foundation so that our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea will belong truly to the Filipinos and all the resources there,” he said as a challenge to the Filipino youth.

Elago said in response that the youth accept the challenge of protecting the country’s natural resources and uphold previous victories, including the 2016 arbitral decision that China’s sweeping nine-dash-line claim over the South China Sea has no basis.

“Handa ang mga kabataan na ipagtanggol ang naipanalo na nila noon at magkamit pa ng mga tagumpay sa pagpo-protekta ng ating likas na yaman at ating teritoryo,” she said.

(The youth are ready to uphold those victories and win more victories in protecting our natural resources and our territory)