MANILA – Almost 30 Vietnamese fishermen, who were arrested for poaching in country’s territorial sea will soon be released and brought back to Vietnam, Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday.
According to Aguirre, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the release of the Vietnamese fishermen as a sign of goodwill following his two-day official visit in Vietnam.
”Napakaganda and successful ang working visit ni Presidente Duterte, walang hitch smooth lang lahat walang problem. Maganda pagtanggap ng Vietnamese officials and government we gain a friend and call it others brothers,” Aguirre told reporters during the press conference held in DoJ head office in Manila City.
Aguirre said they already checked the status of the cases filed against the Vietnamese poachers.
He said the cases filed in Sulu and Palawan have been dismissed and the only remaining case is against the 17 poachers caught near the waters of Dile Point in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
But he clarified that Duterte’s order covers only the arrested fishermen.
“The two countries nagkaroon ng strategic partnership in trade, education, goodwill on the part of Philippines pinangako ni Presidente Duterte na kanyang ipaparelease 17 to 29 Vietnamese fishermen na nahuli natin dito for poaching,” he said adding that it does not give them the freedom to poach in Philippine waters.
In return, Aguirre said that the two countries would exchange intelligence information, would not tolerate poaching in territorial premises and Philippine firms could do business in Vietnam.
”Kasama diyan pagapapasalamat sa kanila for not keeping the Philippine hungry sa kanila tayo umaangkat ng bigas. We just had extra step na pahatid sa Vietnam, we want to improve bilateral as strategic partners in South East Asia country,” he explained.
Asked on West Philippine Sea issue, Aguirre said that both countries had the same stand.
”(The) group of islands (Paracels and the Spratlys )we both claim and other countries. But it should not be a hindrance into being good neighbors in South East Asia,” he noted. PNA-northboundasia.com