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Jul 1, 2020 @ 11:08

Rice for missing fishermen: PH gov’t now on top of collision incident between Liberty 5 and Chinese cargo ship

The Philippine government is now on top of the collision incident between Liberty 5, a small fishing boat, and Chinese cargo vessel off Occidental Mindoro, with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to soon decide whether or not to continue the search and rescue operation for missing Filipino fishermen.

In the meantime, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will be providing one sack of rice for each family of 14 members of the fishing crew and passengers who are still missing after their boat collided with Hong Kong-registered vessel M/V Vienna Wood.

“BFAR offers its sincerest thoughts to the families of the missing fishing crew and passengers during this difficult time,” the agency said in a statement.

“The agency will give one sack of rice as initial immediate assistance to each family,” it added.  

On Wednesday, the missing fishing crew and passengers were already identified by the PCG in coordination with BFAR.

They are Jose Magnes E. Alfonso (Captain), Renante H. Dahon (Chief Mate), Reynil V. Magura (Chief Engineer), Miguel Q. Booc III (Assistant Chief Engineer), Joeffry R. Bantog (Oiler), Jeerom D. Alaska (Oiler), Michael B. Flores (Master Hatchman), Jayson A. Vigonte (Hatchman), Adrian Robert S. Amogod (Hatchman), Bartolome P. Oab, Jr. (Hatchman), Herbert J. Dalabajan (Hatchman), Reynald S. Riparip (Passenger), Ariel L. Tabang (Passenger), and Edwardo S. Manipol, Jr. (Passenger).

The boat’s captain, Alfonso, is from Aklan, while the rest of the crew and passengers are from Palawan.

BFAR said it will continue to provide assistance in the investigation and search and rescue efforts of the PCG and the LGU of Paluan.

He also assured the family of the missing fishing crew that they will provide them livelihood assistance such as 30-footer motorized fiberglass fishing boats.

Around the same time last year, F/B GEM-VER1, a fishing vessel aboard 22 Filipino fishermen was rammed, sank, and abandoned also by a Chinese vessel.

This resulted in 22 fishermen, who hailed from San Jose, Mindoro Occidental, to be left floating for hours in the middle of the sea until Vietnamese fishermen came to their rescue.  

National fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) are now condemning both incidents.

The group is hoping that while justice has not been served for these 22 fishermen, the Philippine government can get its acts together for the Liberty 5 victims.

According to it, the partial report of the PCG, which reveals that the Chinese crew of MV Vienna Wood N did not make any active action or effort to rescue the 14 Filipino fishing crew of the capsized fishing vessel is enough to sue the Chinese perpetrators with criminal and civil charges.

“The PCG report says it all; despite the ship being in compliant with the navigational standards and capable of rescuing the 14 fishing crews, they left the helpless fishers to uncertainties,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said.

The fisherfolk group slated Malacañang for downplaying the maritime tragedy as “banggan lang” amid precedence and abandonment of the welfare of the victims of Chinese ramming of F/B Gem-ver 1 in June last year.


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