Catholic bishops have criticized President Duterte for failing to stand up for Filipino fishermen after their fishing boat was reportedly rammed by a Chinese vessel in waters that were part of the country’s exclusive economic zone on June 9.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the Philippine government had a duty to protect its territory and citizens, reported the United Catholic News (Ucan).
“The government has a duty to protect its citizens and its territory. It should not allow itself to be bullied and let its people suffer,” the prelate said.
Duterte dismissed the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel as a “little maritime incident.”
Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said Duterte’s statement showed his “bias” toward China.
“This is a sign that his judgment cannot be relied upon on serious moral and social issues,” Bastes said.
The Philippine boat was anchored in disputed waters near the Reed Bank, when it was hit by a Chinese trawler and sank around midnight on June 9.
Instead of stopping to help the Filipino fishermen, the Chinese trawler sailed away.
The Filipinos were rescued by the Vietnamese.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at first condemned the incident, but later backtracked and called it “maybe an accident.”
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the weak response by Duterte and his officials was “very self-limiting” and “insulting” to Filipinos.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Duterte’s reaction showed him to be “fearless and cruel against the poor, uncouth and disrespectful to women and democracy advocates, but sheepish when it comes to China.”
OFM chapter, ordinations
The Order of Friars Minor (OFM), or the Franciscans, Custody of St. Anthony (for the Visayas and Mindanao) held recently its chapter and elected Fr. Renee C. Dean, OFM, as custos; Fr. Neil Badillo, OFM, vicar; and Fathers Ronnie Asuero, Alan Arcebuche, and Ferdinand Mercado, OFM, and Bro. Juanito Lebosada Jr., OFM, as council members.
Last May 28, Bro. Jaymar Escoltor made his first profession. On May 30, Bros. Mark Joy Basallajes, Rey Silme Silangan, and Mark Anthony Zarate made their solemn profession in the hands of Father Dean, and on May 31, Bishop Emeritus M.R. Filomeno G. Bactol of Naval, Biliran, ordained Rev. Josue Gorgonio, OFM, to the priesthood, and Brothers Errol Ortiz Rommel Taypin and Glenn Dumadag to the diaconate. These were held in San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church, Sambag 2, Cebu City.
An updated and contextualized Litany of the Saints was sung by Fr. Antonio Ma. Rosales, OFM, on May 30, and by Fr. Gilbert Bagaloyos, OFM, the next day. Present were families, friends, friars and other priests from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Basilan.