Press Release
October 7, 2023

Sen. Tolentino: Bajo de Masinloc mishap probe to help determine PH 'archipelagic sea lane'

Sen. Francis "Tol" Tolentino sees the need to conduct a Senate special investigation on the sea mishap that killed three Filipino fishermen at Bajo de Masinloc on Oct. 2 in the West Philippine Sea to help determine the country's 'archipelagic sea lane.'

Sen. Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, on Oct. 7 said he is weighing the idea of whether to start the investigation while still waiting for reports from concerned entities required by international rules.

The lawmaker said he is waiting for the final investigation report of the Marshall Islands since it is the flag carrier, Singapore as the port of destination of the Pacific Anna, the crude oil tanker identified to have rammed the fishing boat, and investigation reports from the Philippine Coast Guard and Marina.

"So, habang hindi po nakakalap yon, ito po yong wine-weigh in ko kung sisimulan na ang imbestigasyon," he said.

(So, while those have not been obtained yet, I am weighing in if I have to start the investigation.)

Sen. Tolentino explained that there is a need for a Senate investigation even though other agencies are already conducting their respective investigations because they need to determine the Philippine archipelagic sea lane to prevent the same incidents that killed Filipino fishermen.

"Ang pakay dito ay ang pagbubuo ng archipelagic sea lanes. Ang ibig sabihin po nito ay iyong talagang daanan---dito dadaan yong mga barkong domestic, foreign at international vessels na malalaki, nang sa ganun alam ng ating mangingisda kung saan dadaan at makakaiwas sa isa't isa," he said.

"The objective here is to configure the archipelagic sea lanes. This would mean the definite lane---here, the domestic, foreign ships, and international vessels, which are big, would pass so that our fishermen know where to pass and avoid each other.)

Sen. Tolentino, who visited the families of the sea mishap in Zambales, said that the fishermen-survivors told him that the incident happened at about 4:20 a.m. while they were having coffee and recounted that the Pacific Anna could have seen the FBB Dearyn, the rammed fishing boat because the lights were bright.

He said this incident could have been avoided if the archipelagic sea lane in the Philippines had already been determined.#

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