Manila, MINA — President Rodrigo Duterte’s special assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday pledged assistance and support to Filipino fishermen detained in Indonesia.
Go made the pledge a day after welcoming 31 fishermen repatriated from Indonesia on Friday in Davao City.
“Natutuwa ako sa pagsisikap ng ating gobyerno na maibalik sa Pilipinas ang ating mga kababayang Pilipino nang ligtas galing sa Indonesia (I’m happy that our government has been doing its best to repatriate our countrymen from Indonesia),” he said.
Go, one of the possible Senate bets of the ruling PDP-Laban political party in the 2019 mid-term polls, said he would bring up the issue of overstaying Filipinos in Indonesia to the attention of the Chief Executive.
He also expressed hope that Duterte would be able to discuss the issue with Indonesian President Joko Widodo when the two leaders meet during the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore next week.
“I am currently looking for ways to assist the repatriated Filipinos and expedite repatriation process of other Filipinos left detained in Indonesia,” Go said, adding that he was also talking with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano regarding the concerns of the Filipino fishermen in Indonesia.
“There are still many Filipinos who have remained in Indonesia as detainees after illegally entering, overstaying or fishing in Indonesian territories,” he added.
The 31 fishermen who were detained in North Sulawesi either for illegal fishing or overstaying, arrived on board Lapu-Lapu, a ship of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
They were taken to the Navy station of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Barangay Panacan for documentation.
The Navy’s BRP Davao del Sur picked up the fishermen from Manado on April 13 and transferred them to the BFAR ship.
Go emphasized the need to educate Filipinos on territorial issues to avoid being apprehended by other nations. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)