SAP Go vows to help PH fishermen detained in Indonesia

MANILA – Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has vowed to assist the repatriation of Filipino fishermen still detained in Indonesia.

Go made the promise as he commended the Philippine Consulate General in Manado, Indonesia for the repatriation of 31 Filipinos who were apprehended for illegal fishing and overstaying in Indonesia.

“I’m happy that our government has been doing its best to repatriate our countrymen from Indonesia,” he said in a press statement.

Go, one of the possible senatorial candidates of the ruling PDP-Laban party in the 2019 mid-term polls, said he would bring up the issue of overstaying Filipinos in Indonesia to the attention of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

He is hoping Duterte would be able to discuss the issue with Indonesian President Joko Widodo when the two leaders meet during the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore later this month.

The top aide of Duterte said he and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano would discuss with Indonesia’s foreign affairs minister the concerns of the Filipino fishermen.

“I am currently looking for ways to assist the repatriated Filipinos and expedite the repatriation process of other Filipinos left detained in Indonesia,” Go said.

The fishermen from Zamboanga, South Cotabato and Davao City arrived in Davao City last Thursday on board a Navy ship.

Go said the Duterte administration is working hard to give opportunities and protection to the repatriated Filipinos.

He also emphasized the need to educate Filipinos on territorial issues to avoid being apprehended by other nations.

In the meantime, Go said the office of the SAP has coordinated with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to provide the fishermen some fishing gadget and equipment.

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been tapped to provide them with livelihood and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority with skills training.

Go gave each repatriated fisherman PHP3,000 in financial assistance and grocery packs.