November 2, 2016 — President Rodrigo R. Duterte led the ceremonial send-off today of 18 fishermen apprehended in Philippine waters for poaching on the shore of Sual, Pangasinan.
The Philippine Coast Guard had apprehended the 18 fishermen in three separate patrols.
In a speech during the send-off rites, Social welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said since the fishermen had taken refuge in Philippine waters to avoid typhoon Ferdie, the government decided to lend them a hand instead of punishing them.
Each of the fishermen received a bag full of supplies from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Each of the three boats also received supplies such as fuel to make their trip back to Vietnam.
According to immigration commissioner Jaime Morente, the Philippine government had offered to send the fishermen back to their countries via the Philippine Airlines.
But he said the Vietnamese consul replied that the Vietnamese fishermen requested that they be allowed to sail aboard their own vessels instead.
The first seven fishermen were caught on board a boat with bow markings BD95702TS off the waters of Calayan in Cagayan. The PCG chased the escaping boat and eventually apprehended the first ship.
The rest were caught off Panuitan Island and Catanapan Point, both in Cagayan, in two separate operations for similar charges.
President Duterte, during his trip to Vietnam in late September, assured the Vietnamese government he would facilitate the speedy release of the fishermen.
Duterte himself assured the fishermen that if they get caught in another typhoon, they can come to Mindanao for safe haven.
If you happen to … next typhoon, if you find yourself drifting, come to Mindanao, and we will welcome you, no problem.… you can take your vacation there.”