Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to plead to Japan to continue the search and rescue operations for 36 missing Filipino seafarers and their colleagues a cattle ship sank in the East China Sea.
Hontiveros sent a letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., urging him to ask Japan to let other countries join the search.
“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,” Hontiveros said.
“One of the survivors said that the crew could 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… As long as the families have not given up on their loved ones, hindi rin dapat tayo sumuko sa laban,” she added.
The opposition senator cited the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979, and the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, noting there is a “legal obligation to provide assistance to those who are in distress on the high seas.”
Hontiveros to DFA: Plead to Japan to continue search for 36 missing Filipino seafarers
“We are getting frustrated not knowing where they are,” said Liberty Seneres, wife of chief engineer, Aristotle Sabillena.
“We are worried. But there still is hope that they are still alive.”
The families also called on the Philippine government to resume the search and even expand it to waters off South Korea, Taiwan, and China.
“We also believe there are some survivors – if not all – either on those rafts or nearby uninhabited islands just waiting for someone to care enough to keep searching. But we must act now,” said Fredelyn Addug-Sanchez, sister of ship captain Dante Addug.
“Let’s work together and bring our boys home. They are worth our effort,” she added.