The governor of Romblon province welcomed news that the wreck of the Musashi has been found but stressed that authorities had no idea of the search for the World War II Japanese battleship as he urged that “national laws and international protocols be observed” following the find.
In a statement dated Friday, Governor Eduardo Firmalo said although Allen did not disclose the exact location of the find, it “may be within the territory of the province of Romblon,” adding that the engagement in which the Musashi was sunk is accurately the “Battle of Sibuyan Sea,” which preceded the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf.
He pointed out that Romblon has been commemorating the Sibuyan Sea battle “to promote peace, unity and prosperity among Americans, Japanese and Filipinos in remembrance of the fallen soldiers and civilians during the war” and that the national government, “through Proclamation No. 45, s. 2010, declared 24 October 2010, and every year thereafter as ‘Battle of Sibuyan Sea Day’.”
Firmalo also cited “initiatives of the private sector, local and national governments to preserve the historical integrity and significance of the Battle of Sibuyan Sea for all concerned to embrace reconciliation and peace through historical tourism, cultural exchange and international cooperation.”
As for the search for the Musashi, he said, “the provincial government is unaware of the presence of Mr. Allen’s vessel and his team at Sibuyan Sea.”
“Claiming that they have been searching for Musashi for more than eight years, there has been no information shared nor coordination with the local authorities,” he said of Allen’s statement.
“We have known that even the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy were also unaware about the exploration conducted,” he added.
“Since there may be artifacts which are historically significant, government institutions like the National Museum and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines must also be informed,” Firmalo said. “Being a Japanese vessel, it is also proper to inform the Embassy of Japan. As reverence to their fallen soldiers, there may also be ways how to regard the issue with utmost traditional sensitivity.”
“We hope that national laws and international protocols be observed for proper coordination and collaboration,” he added.