3 Filipino fishers hit by storm to be repatriated from Taiwan—PCGBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The government will repatriate shortly three Filipino fishermen who were rescued Saturday by Taiwanese coast guard about 80 nautical miles off Kaohsiung port in southern Taiwan days after they were caught in storm last week, the spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard said Monday.
Commander Armand Balilo, also chief of the PCG Public Affairs Office, told the Inquirer on Monday that they were “coordinating with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (in Taipei) for the repatriation of the rescued fishermen.”
He identified the fishermen as Ronald Dumaran, Edwin Zoilo and Gener Mendoza, all residents of Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
Citing a report from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Makati City, Balilo said the fishermen “encountered a storm last July 15.”
“On board a fishing boat, they drifted for five days until they were rescued by a Taiwanese Coast Guard vessel,” he said. “They are in good condition and currently under the custody of the TCG in Kaohsiung.”
However, “another Filipino fishing boat (with an undisclosed number of crew) is still missing,” said Balilo.
In May, a Philippine fisheries patrol vessel manned by the PCG shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat near Balintang Channel in northern Philippines.
The PCG had admitted that its personnel shot at the vessel in an incident that left Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-chen dead.
The Coast Guard shrugged off an Inquirer report that the National Bureau of Investigation had recommended the filing of criminal charges against its personnel who were involved in Hung’s death, which sparked a diplomatic row between
“It’s not yet final,” Balilo said, adding that the PCG was “still waiting for the official communication on the matter” from the NBI.
Seventeen PCG personnel were interviewed by the NBI and a team of investigators from Taiwan on the shooting incident that happened during a chase off Balintang Channel on May 9.
Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, Coast Guard commandant, said the PCG would respect the NBI’s findings, adding: “If our men are found to have violated the Coast Guard rules of engagement, then they would have to face the consequences of their actions.