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PCG: In fulfillment of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's promise to send home five Vietnamese fishermen who were arrested last 23 September conveyed  during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bilateral talk between the Philippines and Vietnam  held in Vietnam recently, the Philippine Coast Guard through its Multi-Role Response Vessels- 4404 (BRP Capones) and MRRV-4406 (BRP Suluan) escorted the Vietnamese Fishing Boat (PY 96173TS) during the Ceremonial Send Off at Sual Wharf and Causeway Area, Sual Port, Pangasinan up to 12 nautical miles  of the Philippines territorial waters on its eight-day travel proceeding to Phu Yen Province, Vietnam at 04:00 P.M. today, 29 November.

It was last 22 September when the Philippine Navy sighted the said VFB with seven fishermen onboard namely Messrs. Phan Lam, Phan Net, Nguyen Uan Trong, Nguyen Than Chi, Pham To, Le Van Liem, and Le Van Reo fishing at the vicinity waters of 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao, Pangasinan wherein the apprehension during the following day resulted to the death of the latter two crewmembers.

In view of the resolution, the respondents violated Section 91 of RA 10694 or the Amended Fisheries Code, which states that it shall be unlawful to any foreign, corporation or entity to fish or operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters.  However, due to humanitarian considerations owing to their indigence and the unexpected death of the two crewmembers, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources decided that while poaching was committed, no administrative fine will be imposed.

Meanwhile, PCG deployed task force with two units composed of Coast Guard District Northeastern Luzon, CG Station Sual, officers and crew of the two MRRVs, CG Special Operations Force, and CG K9 Force.  Aside from the participating vessels, six aluminum boats and one rubber boat are also deployed to conduct maritime patrols for the implementation of maritime security and law enforcement in the No Sail Zone area and to assist the said send-off.

In addition, the Philippine government through the Department of Social Works and Development  and the Department of Health handed-over the Vietnamese fishermen with provisions and medicines to compliment their eight-day travel personally witnessed by the Vietnamese Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan.

The event was attended by the PCG delegation headed by the Officer-in-Charge Philippine Coast Guard, Commodore Joel S Garcia PCG Ph.D., H.D., Al-Haj, concerned agencies including BFAR, DSWD, Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Immigration, and other national and local government units.