Press Release
September 18, 2020


"Kaisa ng pamilya ng mga kababayan nating marino na hindi pa matagpuan matapos lumubog ang Gulf Livestock 1, nananawagan ako sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to call upon the Japanese government to expand its search and rescue (SAR) efforts."

This was the statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros as she urged the DFA to convince the Japanese government to continue and intensify its search and rescue operations to locate the 36 still missing Filipino seafarers who were aboard the cargo vessel which sank off the coast of southwest Japan.

"It has been two weeks. Wala pa ring balita kung nasaan na ang mga kapamilya nila. Balisa na sila, isip nang isip, kumusta na kaya ang asawa, o tatay o anak nila?," she said. "I recognize the valuable work DFA has done in keeping the families abreast of developments vis-�-vis SAR operations, but I also understand the desperation, frustration, and helplessness the families must be feeling during this difficult period."

On a letter sent by Hontiveros addressed to DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., she stated that the officials should continue the fight in persuading the Japanese government to not only continue and expand SAR operations but also, if possible, to allow other countries to join in the search as well.

"Bukod sa Pinoy, may Australian and Kiwi pa silang kasamahan sa barko. I hope DFA will plead to let our coast guard, as well as the Coast Guards of Australia and New Zealand, assist in locating the lost mariners," she added.

According to the Senator, what happened to Gulf Livestock 1 activates the 'Good Samaritan Vessel' doctrine which encourages seafarers to save lives and property in case of danger. She also noted that there is a legal obligation to provide assistance to those who are in distress on the high seas pursuant to the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 (SAR).

Hontiveros said that the DFA should exhaust all efforts to locate the missing Filipino seafarers and bring them home safely.

"As long as the families have not given up on their loved ones, hindi rin dapat tayo sumuko sa laban," she said.

"One of the survivors said that the crew was able to wear their life jackets before jumping into the water. This gives families hope that they might still be alive at sea or on an island. Gawin natin lahat ng makakaya para mahanap ang nawawala nilang mahal sa buhay at maiuwi sila sa kani-kanilang mga pamilya," she concluded.

Please see attached letter of Senator Risa Hontiveros sent to DFA Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr.

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