Manila, Philippines, MINA — Thirty-one Filipinos, who were detained for illegal entry and fishing in Indonesia, have been repatriated and are expected to be back in the country this weekend.
The repatriation was in coordination with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in North Sulawesi and the Immigration offices in Bitung, Tarakan, Balikpapan and Manado, Philstar reported, quoting the Philippine consulate general in Manado
According to a press release, eight of the 31 were boat captains, 10 were drifters and 13 either caught for illegal entry or overstaying.
Dodi Karnida, head of Immigration in North Sulawesi, said Filipinos are free to enter Indonesia provided they have fulfilled the legal requirements.
The repatriation, the third to be conducted in Manado, is done in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Naval fleet Eastern Mindanao Command, which provided BRP Davao del Sur to transport them back to Sasa port in Davao City.
To prevent another incident, the Consulate General recommended that the government conduct a massive information drive among Filipino fishing boat owners and workers to educate them on the Indonesian policies on illegal fishing.
It also wanted owners to immediately notify the Consulate General when their fishing boats are held and the fishing crew detained, aside from encouraging them to provide financial assistance to the next of kin of the detained crew.
The office also wanted to hold boat owners to take the responsibility of providing immediate legal and translation services during investigation, prosecution and trial stages.
The Consulate General also recommended the imposition of fines and penalties against boat owners who abandon their crew. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)