MANILA, Philippines – The need to settle Philippine Islands was again raised by Senator Francis Tolentino following the tragic collision of a boat with a large ship in Bajo de Masinloc that led to the deaths of three Filipino fishermen.
The construction of archipelagic shipping routes will prohibit the unauthorized passage of foreign ships within the country’s territorial waters.
At a press conference on Friday, Tolentino told reporters that if an archipelago seal is imposed, ship navigators will be able to determine which routes should or should not be avoided.
“(K)aya nangyayari ito wala tayong tamang archipelago sealane kahit saan pwede dumaan. So kung kan archipelago sealane tayo, mayroon talagang ruta na dadaanan yung mga malalaking ships at alam nila, alam nung mga maliliit na bangka, mga mangingisda natin on iyon and daaanan pwede rin iwasan. “I have equipped many ships with navigation equipment at ilaw kapag gabi,” Tolentino said.
(The reason why this happens is that we don’t have a good archipelago sealane. That’s why they sail through everything. If we have an archipelago sealane, there is actually a route that the big ships will sail through. Even the small boats and our fishermen will know which routes to avoid. The same applies to large ships if they are equipped with the correct navigation equipment and lighting at night.)
Tolentino, who also chairs the chamber’s Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, said the absence of archipelago sealane means freedom of navigation may be abused.
“Maybe the freedom of navigation is being abused. Our fishermen are in danger because they don’t think big ships will suddenly appear there,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The Philippine Coast Guard previously revealed that the ramming appears to have been an accident. It was subsequently announced that the ship responsible for the fatal incident was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands.