On Sunday, June 16, the largest organization of Filipino-Chinese businesses promised to pay for the repair of the fishing boat hit by a Chinese trawler in the West Philippine Sea on June 9.
Which President Duterte was quick to say that the help is a mere gesture of humanitarian assistance and not an “admission of guilt.”
Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc (FFCCCII), stated the group would fund the rehabilitation of the damaged FB Gem-Vir and the affected Filipino fishermen, so they could “resume their livelihood.”
“There’s no admission of guilt of any party here. Our only concern here is the source of income of the fishermen,” Liong said at a press conference in Quezon City,
He said that the organization agreed to help the victims after Philippine Ambassador to China, Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, called to ask what assistance the FFCCCII could provide for the fishermen, who were allegedly abandoned by the Chinese Vessel and rescued by Vietnamese fishermen.
To what extent is the help?
The group was not specific of the kind of help they would give as the members are still assessing the damage to the boat.
In the meantime, as they still analyze if the boat is insured and how much would be the repair, Liong said that they will also be donating rice to the fishermen and their families.
“They are not going to hungry. We will get this fixed at the soonest possible time.”
Liong also shared that they have also gotten in touch with Delfin Lorenzana, Philippines Defense Secretary, who was “very happy” about the offer.
Would China be accountable for what happened?
Yet, the group does not believe that China should face sanctions or be accountable of the “hit-and-run incident.”
“The Philippine and [Chinese] governments are now still ascertaining what really happened. So far the real truth that we are already sure of is that our 22 Filipino brothers had lost their fishing vessel and their means of livelihood,” Liong said.
They also appealed for “sobriety” from Filipinos amid calls of swift diplomatic action from all levels of government.
As Liong said, “I think it is a very isolated incident.”
“An incident like this is bound to happen if you ask me.”
The president of FFCCCII also added that he wanted to be a “bridge” between China and the Philippines.