MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-one Filipino fishermen, on board Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Lapu-Lapu of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) arrived in Davao City on Friday after being detained in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Navy turned over the Filipino repatriates on April 13, three days after the conduct of boarder patrol exercises (Corpat Philindo 18) in Indonesia.
They were detained in Indonesia for illegal entry, fishing and overstaying.
Fifteen of them hail from General Santos City; seven from Zamboanga City; four from Davao; 2 from Saranggani province while the rest are from Tawi-Tawi.
According to Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Bong Go, the government will address the matter at the ASEAN meeting to speed up the process of repatriation for the remaining 46 Filipino fishermen detained in Indonesia.
The secretary added that the president wants to establish an office that will prioritize the concerns and needs of fishermen to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Meanwhile, repatriated Randy Capricho, 31 from General Santos City was grateful to see his wife and 8-month old child.
Capricho was detained in Indonesia for six months after his transfer to the immigration.
“Mahirap kami masyado, Ma’am, dahil kami sa preso kumain lang kami ng kangkong,” he said.
(It was difficult for us Ma’am, because all we ate in prison was watercress.)
The repatriates received cash assistance and food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), assorted vegetable seeds from Department of Agriculture (DA) and some fishing gadgets from BFAR.
After DWSD accomplished several documents needed, the repatriates may return to their families today. —Marisol Montaño | UNTV News & Rescue