MANILA MalacaAang has confirmed that the economic and security clusters of the Duterte Cabinet will hold a meeting on Monday (June 17) but it will be up to its members to decide whether the collision between a Filipino fishing boat and Chinese vessel near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea will be discussed.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Sunday bared that the Cabinet's Economic Development and Security, Justice, and Peace clusters will be meeting to tackle the Recto Bank incident where the crew of the Chinese vessel allegedly abandoned 22 Filipino fishermen on June 9.
Hindi maiiwasan na isa ito sa pag-uusapan (They cannot avoid that this will be among the topics discussed), Nograles said in an interview over DZBB on Sunday (June 16).
Panelo, however, said that he could not confirm or deny if the Recto Bank incident will indeed be brought up during the Cabinet clusters meeting.
In the first place there is no special Cabinet meeting on the Recto Bank. Who said na meron (that there is)? Regular 'yung cluster Cabinet meeting, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Whether that will be taken up or not, 'di natin alam kung anong magiging agenda doon (we don't know what their agenda will be during the meeting), he added.
Earlier, reports quoted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi confirming that President Rodrigo R. Duterte called for a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the Recto Bank incident.
However, Panelo and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea denied that the President called for any Cabinet meeting to discuss the maritime issue.
Panelo explained that there could have been a miscommunication where a cluster Cabinet meeting was confused for a Cabinet meeting to be presided by the President.
Wala namang special, palagay ko nagkaroon lang ng (There's no special Cabinet meeting, I assume that there was only a) miscommunication with respect to cluster Cabinet meeting, Panelo said.
Earlier, Nograles also clarified that a meeting among department secretaries in concerned clusters could not be called a Cabinet meeting if the President is not present.
Nograles said he does not think the President can attend the meeting since he will be attending the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy at Sangley Point in Cavite on the same day.
Panelo could not confirm whether Duterte would meet the captain or crew of the Filipino fishing boat that sank but said that the possibilities were limitless. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency