The recommendation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file homicide charges against eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel in the shooting incident in Balintang Channel on May 9 is a “constructive response” that could heal the rift between the Philippines and Taiwan.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila (TECO) said late Wednesday the Philippines’ “positive and concrete response” to Taipei’s four demands, one of which is to bring the perpetrators to justice, may ease the tensions between the two sides.
“The Republic of China [ROC] expresses affirmation of the Philippine government’s recommendation for homicide charges in its investigation report on the ROC fishing boat Guang Da Xing No. 28 shooting incident,” the TECO statement said.
Aside from filing homicide charges against the eight Coast Guard members, the NBI recommended charges of obstruction of justice against another four who were found to have doctored a video recording of the incident.
The Taiwanese boat reportedly intruded into Philippine territory in the Balintang Channel that lies between the Batanes Island and southern Taiwan.
Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shi-Cheng, 65, died during the shooting incident.
To mend the Philippines-Taiwan relations, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Amadeo Perez Jr. flew to Taipei on Thursday to “provide a full account of the efforts the Philippine government has made regarding the case.”
He will also deliver the Philippines’ formal apology to Taiwanese authorities, according to reports.
The Taiwanese government slapped about 11 retaliatory measures against the Philippines to force it to agree to four demands: a formal apology, punishment of those responsible for the shooting, compensation for the Hung family and bilateral fishery talks to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON