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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Philippine laws to govern sea mishap says Presidential Spokesman Roque

Sea mishap government by Philippine laws

MANILA – The most recent sea mishap involving a Filipino fishing boat and a foreign cargo vessel will be resolved according to Philippine law.

“This is an issue of Philippine Admiralty Law because the collision occurred in Philippine territorial waters. There is no international law application here other than foreign flagships can sail through under the concept of innocent passage,” according to Presidential Spokesman Secretary Harry Roque at a midday briefing at Malacañang Palace.

He added “as far as accountability is concerned, Philippine authorities will decide as the incident happened in our territorial waters.”

Asked if there would be any implication with Philippines-China and ASEAN-Philippines-China relations, Secretary Roque said there will be none because the provisions governing sea mishaps are the same rules being applied to road crashes.

“There will be no implications because it is an ordinary collision,” the presidential spokesman explained.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said the search and rescue operations are still going on. However, they have not found any of missing 12 fishermen and two passengers during their aerial sorties and sea patrol until late Monday afternoon.

In the Philippines, cases involving admiralty or maritime laws are under the Regional Trial Court’s designated “Special Commerce Courts.” The Supreme Court, in an en banc resolution last September 17,2019, adopted and promulgated the Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases (The Rules), designating existing regional trial courts (RTCs) as admiralty courts or maritime courts.

It was also reported last October 26,2019 at that the Supreme Court saw it fit to provide RTCs with a special and summary procedure for admiralty cases to provide parties of such cases a “fast, reliable, and efficient means to of recourse to Philippine courts. (Melo M. Acuña)

MV Vienna Wood, a Hong Kong registered cargo ship involved in a sea collision of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro early Sunday morning. The ship has been escorted by Philippine Coast Guard elements to the Port of Batangas. (PCG Photo)

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