31 Manado repatriates arrive in Davao

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DAVAO CITY — A total of 31 Filipino fishermen earlier detained in Indonesia for illegal fishing were repatriated back to the Philippines and arrived in Davao City on Friday, April 20, 2018.

The boat carrying the repatriates sailed off the Indonesian Navy wharf in Bitung last Friday, April 13. They were onboard the BRP Davao del Sur and arrived in Sasa Port in Davao City.

Eight among the 31 Filipinos were boat captains apprehended for illegal fishing who served prison sentence, 10 were drifters, while 13 were apprehended for illegal entry/ overstaying. The Filipino repatriates are from Zamboanga, South Cotabato and Davao City.

Secretary Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President commended the Philippine Consulate General in Manado, Indonesia for the repatriation of 31 Filipinos.

“Natutuwa ako sa pagsisikap ng ating gobyerno na maibalik sa Pilipinas an gating mga kababayang Pilipino nang ligtas galing sa Indonesia,” Go said.

However, there are still many Filipinos who have remained in Indonesia as detainees after illegally entering, overstaying or fishing in Indonesian territories.

Go sees that these issues can be resolved directly through expediting repatriation by creating a fast and efficient mechanism.

Go and Foreign Affairs Sec. Allan Cayetano plan to talk with Foreign Ministers to reconsider Filipinos who have been drifted to the Indonesian waters accidentally.

Go will raise this concern to President Rodrigo Duterte so he can discuss these matters with Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo during the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore next week.

Go aims to educate Filipinos on territorial issues such as communicating with the Filipino fishing boat owners concerning the strict implementation by the Indonesian government’s anti-illegal fishing policy.

“I am currently looking for ways to assist the repatriated Filipinos and expedite repatriation process of other Filipinos left detained in Indonesia. Sa ngayon, tayo ay nakikipagtulungan sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno para mabigyan ng tulong pinansyal at suporta ang ating mga kababayan na sa ‘di inaasahang mga pangyayari, na-detain sa Indonesia,” said Go.

“Nakakalungkot pong isipin na ang tagal po nag antay ng ating mag kababayan. May iba nakapangasawa na lang ng Indonesian, at yung isa kanina…buntis ang asawa ng umalis, nanganak na lang at ngayon lang nya nakita ang anak nya.,” Go lamented.

Go’s office facilitated with BFAR to provide fishing gadget and equipment for the repatriates. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has been tapped to provide them with livelihood, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority with skills training and will be assisted immediately by the DFA with regards the processing of their passports. Go gave each repatriate P3,000 financial assistance and grocery packs.

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