Balintang sea shooting captured in video — PH
The government said on Tuesday that it would release the video of the Philippine Coast Guard on the maritime incident in Balintang Channel last week that resulted in the death of a 65-year old Taiwanese fisherman.
“I think that (release of the video) should not be a problem. It will be part of the investigation,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
Other than the release of the video, however, Lacierda said the government will not engage in a media war with Taiwan over the incident amid reported threats of economic sanctions against the Philippines.
Lacierda made the statement even as Taiwan had announced that it would conduct naval drills near the country’s territorial waters “if Manila does not officially apologize to the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman.”
The Taiwanese Navy added it would conduct the drills at the Bashi Channel, where the fisherman, later identified a Hung Shih-cheng, was killed.
But following Malacanang’s directive, military and defense officials deferred from making any reaction on Taipei’s apparent “show of force.”
“We have to defer [from] issuing any statement because the issue, which is about international relations, is already the domain of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Malacanang,” Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Gerald Fabic said.
Fabic added, however, that the Navy was ready to patrol and guard Philippine waters from foreign intrusions.
“We have naval stations and assets in the part of the region. They will be monitoring the naval exercises they [Taiwan] will be conducting,” he said.
Defense spokesman Paul Reuben Galvez likewise refused to comment on the issue.
“To avoid any misunderstanding, we defer [our] comments regarding that matter with the Foreign Affairs.”
Lacierda, meanwhile, said the government’s response will be handed through “proper channels.”
“There will be a response and it will be handed through the proper channels and not through media,” Lacierda said.
He said that it would be Antonio Basilio, managing director and resident representative of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, who would deliver the government’s response to his counterpart.
A week ago, Basilio travelled to the Liouchiou Island in the southern region over the weekend to personally apologize and offer his condolences to the family of Hung. With Florante Solmerin
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