Aid keeps coming for fishermen thrust into limelight

/ 05:12 AM June 23, 2019

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines — Help from private individuals are pouring in for the families of the 22 fishermen who survived a boat-ramming incident near Recto Bank two weeks ago.

On Friday, the family of boat skipper Junel Insigne received P10,000 wired to his daughter’s account.


A close friend of the Insignes’ said the donor, who wanted to remain anonymous, meant to give the money specifically to the skipper’s family.

The family’s friend, who also refused to be identified, said the donor contacted her on Facebook after seeing a picture of Junel and his wife, Lanie, preparing a tray of barbecue which they sold for additional income.


On social media, individuals solicited help to raise whatever amount for the fishermen. One of them had asked the Inquirer to verify whether they got the correct bank details of Junel’s daughter.

“The money goes straight to the families. I told their daughters to take note of all the deposits, who it came from, or if it’s meant for all the 22 as a group,” the family friend said.

Neither the Insignes nor the other fishermen are soliciting help. In fact, they welcomed visitors to their homes and even prepared meals of fish, crabs and prawns for them out of their own pockets.

Loans, rice, boats, engines

Since the June 9 hit-and-run incident, government agencies have provided various assistance to the 22 fishermen.

Each of them has received a P25,000 interest-free loan from the Department of Agriculture, P10,000 cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P10,000 in cash assistance from Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, P50,000 from the office of Vice President Leni Robredo and two sacks of rice from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The fishermen also were to share in the use of 12 fiberglass fishing boats with engines and fishing gear given by the BFAR.


In addition to all these, former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also gave a personal donation of P500,000 to the fishermen, that he had hand-delivered to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“We are all Filipinos, we should help each other,” Del Rosario said.

He also said he had met with Ly Quoc Tuan, Vietnam’s ambassador to the Philippines, to thank the Vietnamese fishermen who rescued the Filipinos.

Money for new phone

After the Chinese vessel smashed into the stern of the Gem-Vir 1, it sailed away without aiding the fishermen who were thrown into the water where they struggled to survive for hours before the Vietnamese fishing boat arrived.

Lanie said they had used the money to pay off the family’s debts.

Crew member Jaypee Gardiones said he bought a new phone for P2,500 to replace the one he had lost in the sea and deposited the rest of the money in a bank.

Insigne and Gardiones said they used to earn about P20,000 to P50,000 each time they went on a 15-day fishing trip near Recto Bank. They said it may take four months to repair the Gem-Vir 1, which means they would be idle for quite a while. —With reports from Juliet Labog-Javellana, Christine O. Avendaño and Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Albert Del Rosario, Junel Insigne, Leni Robredo, Recto Bank incdient, Reed Bank incident
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