President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday ensured that those responsible for the ramming incident in Scarborough Shoal would be held accountable.
In a statement, Marcos said Philippine authorities are currently investigating the incident that left three Filipino crew members of the fishing vessel dead.
"We are deeply saddened by the deaths of the three fishermen, including the captain of the fishing vessel. The incident is still under investigation to ascertain the details and circumstances surrounding the collision between the fishing boat and a still unidentified commercial vessel," Marcos said.
"We assure the victims, their families, and everyone that we will exert every effort to hold accountable those who are responsible for this unfortunate maritime incident," he added.
He urged the public to allow the Philippine Coast Guard to investigate the incident and "refrain from engaging in speculation in the meantime."
"Rest assured that the government will provide support and assistance to the victims and their families," Marcos said.
For its part, the Department of Foreign Affairs sent its condolences to the families of those who perished in the incident, but said it would be awaiting the results of the investigation before commenting further.
"We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the families of our fishefolk who perished in this tragic event at sea ... Out of respect for the bereaved families, we consider it prudent to wait for the results of the investigation before making any further statements in this regard," it said.
The PCG said one crew member of FFB Dearyn shared that the incident happened before dawn on Monday, October 2.
The Filipino fishing boat was moored 85 nautical miles northwest of Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc, when it was rammed by the foreign commercial vessel.
The boat submerged, resulting in the death of its 47-year-old captain and two crew members aged 38 and 62, the PCG said. All the fatalities are residents of Zambales province.
The PCG, in an assessment report, said the vessel that collided with local fishing boat was an oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands.— RSJ, GMA Integrated News