Palace advises Gem-Ver fishermen to file claim
MANILA, Philippines — The group of Filipino fishermen whose boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel off Recto Bank should file an insurance claim first before they receive compensation.
Malacañang said the 22 fishermen from Mindoro province should file the necessary claim since the insurance provider of the Chinese boat owner would have to investigate the claim first.
“With respect to that, didn’t the Chinese government say we have to file an insurance claim? That is why they should, and they should file. You can’t be given money just like that, the shipping company has insurance coverage,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
He added: “You have to file an insurance claim, then let the process proceed. There are protocols for that. The insurance company won’t just give you money, there has to be a claim first.”
“They should [compensate] because they are the ones at fault, the ship. Moreover, didn’t they say that they are willing to pay even if it’s an accident?”
Panelo made the remarks following reports that the 22 fishermen of the FB Gem-Ver fishing boat have not been compensated for the damage to their boat, four months after the allision, as the incident had been described by the Philippines’ top diplomat, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
On June 9, a Chinese trawler hit the Gem-Ver and abandoned in the open sea the boat’s crew, who were rescued later by Vietnamese fishermen.
In August, the Chinese boat owner, through the Guangdong Mutual Insurance Association, apologized to the Filipino fishermen.
The insurance group asked the fishermen to file an appeal for compensation based on the actual loss or damage.
Several donors also extended help to the fishermen.
Junel Insigne, skipper of the Gem-Ver, said the commercial fishing boat was given a fresh coat of paint but still needed repairs and reinforcements that may take a year to finish.
“For now, they’ve received a lot of aid, assistance coming from various sectors. But they should file an insurance claim,” Panelo said, adding that the fishermen can seek help from their local officials in doing so.
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