Duterte to send off Viet fishermen in violent sea capture

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte looks on during the ASEAN Canada 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 14, 2017. World leaders are in the Philippines' capital for two days of summits. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ezra ACAYAN

SUAL, PANGASINAN — For the second time under his administration, President Duterte is scheduled on Wednesday afternoon to send off five Vietnamese fishermen who were caught in Philippine waters during a violent confrontation with the Navy.

Two other Vietnamese fishermen were killed when a Navy boat intercepted Vietnamese fishing boat PY96173T3 near the waters off Bolinao town on Sept. 23.

Duterte had agreed to send the Vietnamese fishermen home during bilateral talks between the Philippines and Vietnam during the recently concluded the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held in Vietnam.

On Wednesday morning, the Vietnamese fishing boat which has been docked at the Sual port was loaded with food and other provisions prior to their ceremonial send-off.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan was present at the Sual municipal wharf where boat captain Pham To, Pham Net, Nguyen Thanh Chi, Nguyen Yan Trong, and Phan Lam have been detained in their boat since their capture.

Their crew members Le Van Liem and Le Van Reo were killed when the Navy boat fired warning shots that allegedly struck the Vietnamese vessel. The fishermen are from Zone V Phudong, Tuyhoa City, Phuyen Province in Vietnam.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development loaded the boat with provisions sufficient for eight days, which was the length of their sea travel home.

Department of Health issued them certificates indicating they were physically fit when they leave Sual port.

The Vietnamese boat will be escorted by Philippine Coast Guard up to 200 nautical miles from the Philippine coast.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said the Vietnamese fishermen were poaching, but would not be fined for humanitarian reasons. /je


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