The Malaysian government expressed regrets as it promises to dish out necessary punishments to the Malaysian Navy personnel for detaining and beating up three Filipino fishermen near the Commodore reef in the West Philippine Sea claimed by the Philippines.
“The Malaysian government regrets the incident. They have informed us they are already in the process of the punishments for the people who did it. In any form, whether agitated or not, beating up is not acceptable,” Rene Almendras, the Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Philippines, stated on Thursday.
According to Almendras, Malaysia is also prepared to compensate the three fishermen who were detained, beat up, and accused of trespassing on the territorial waters of Malaysia by the navy personnel.
“We have been assured we are monitoring the actions on the naval personnel involved on this. Discussions on compensation and for the fishermen is also in advanced stages,” Almendras explained to the media.
The Filipino fishermen claimed that the Malaysians punched and kicked them during their illegal detention. According to Philippine authorities, the three fishermen were given medical care after they were released.
Despite the incident with the Malaysian navy personnel, Almendras said that the relationship between the Philippines and Malaysia remain to be “good.” The Foreign Affairs Secretary explained that Malaysia did not try to cover-up the incident and that its government worked closely with the Philippine government in order to resolve the issue.
The countries that are involved in the South China Sea territorial dispute – which the West Philippine Sea is a part of – are the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan. The South China Sea is known as a major route for trading and is said to be rich in natural resources such as oil, rich mineral reserves and natural gas.