MANILA – Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Wednesday called for joint military patrols in the West Philippine Sea after a Chinese vessel collided and immediately abandoned a sinking Filipino fishing boat.

Zarate underscored the need to have more coast guard patrols in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

To further prevent aggression from China, the militant-lawmaker said joint patrols with Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as other claimants of the areas in the South China Sea, can be arranged.

He also reiterated his call for the demilitarization of the area.

In a statement also on Wednesday, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana bared that a Chinese vessel hit and abandoned a Filipino fishing boat on the evening of June 9, Sunday.

According to the Department of National Defense, the Philippine boat had 22 fishermen on board who were later rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the vicinity.