Group thanks Viet consuls in San Francisco for rescue of Filipino fishermen
SAN FRANCISCO – Members of a Filipino American human rights group went to the Vietnamese consulate here not to hold a protest, but to convey their “deepest gratitude and appreciation” for Vietnamese fishermen’s rescue of Filipinos whose boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea.
Vietnamese fishermen aboard another fishing vessel saved the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen who were abandoned in the water after their anchored boat was rammed by a Chinese fishing vessel, which fled after the incident in the Recto Bank of the West Philippine Sea last June 9, 2019.
Members and supporters of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) brought a bouquet of flowers to the Vietnamese Consulate to personally hand over a formal letter expressing thanks to the people of Vietnam for what they did to the beleaguered Filipino fishermen.
Consul Hoang Viet Khang.and Deputy Consul General (DCG) Ngo Quang Anh met the delegation and exchanged ideas with them on constructive ways to deal with tensions in the West Philippine Sea. FAHRA spokesman Ago Pedalizo described the conversation with the Vietnamese consuls as cordial and instructive.
“DCG Ngo Quang Anh said the incident was a humanitarian issue” involving the lives of the poor folks whose only goal is to live a decent and peaceful life,” Pedalizo shared.
Pedalizo also mentioned that Ngo cited actual cases in Vietnam when their own Coast Guard worked with Vietnamese fishermen giving them protection, GPS equipment and supplies they may need to fish peacefully.
FAHRA’s letter stated that “shared challenges and aspirations sometimes bring people and nations together. We hope that we will forge a lasting fraternal relationship as we both envision a world that is more caring and respectful of the sovereign rights of people and nations.”
Pedalizo also revealed that FAHRA and other groups are planning to have a rally on July 12, 2019 at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to mark the third anniversary of The Hague International Tribunal ruling that declared the West Philippine Sea as a Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Among those who joined the delegation was Toto (not his real name) of Sacramento, who had to attend to some business in San Francisco and found it an opportune time to show his support in thanking Vietnam.
“I join in thanking the Vietnamese people for their support and risking their own safety in the rescue efforts. I hope the Philippine government will conduct a deeper investigation on the incident but I doubt that the truth will surface from such investigation because of what is going on between the governments of Philippine and China,” a skeptical Toto disclosed.
In an email, US Pinoy for Good Governance (USPGG) spokesperson and legal counsel Ted Laguatan said he believes the hit-and-run boat-ramming was not accidental.
“This deliberate act of aggression against Filipino Fishermen is part of the bullying tactics of China to intimidate and coerce Filipino Fishermen away from their own rich fishing grounds,” Laguatan argued. “It is so sad that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a puppet of China and has ceded control of Philippine territories to the Chinese clearly betraying and not protecting his own people.”