The Philippine Immigration Department has imposed a fine of 50,000 PHP (US$1,150) on each of the 122 Vietnamese fishermen who have recently been released after 3 months of detention for their alleged encroachment on Philippine waters, the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines reported.
The released fishermen are waiting for repatriation to Vietnam Photo: Tuoi Tre
As such, the total amount that must be paid by the fishermen is PHP6.2 million, or US$141,000, the embassy said.
Yesterday, the embassy sent a document to the Philippine agency, asking them to make a special case for the fishermen, explaining that they are all too poor to pay the fine.
Currently, the fishermen are staying in an army barracks at the Philippines’ Western Military Command while waiting for repatriation.
All of them are in good health, the embassy said.
On August 26, the court of the Philippine province of Palawan, where the fishermen were being detained, dropped the charges on 85 of the 122 detainees and released them from the provincial prison.
On September 1, the remaining 37 fishermen were also set free after the court withdrew charges against them.
Vietnamese fishermen are given instructions by Filipino officers at the army barracks where they are staying while waiting for repatriation (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Earlier on May 30, 2011, seven fishing vessels of Binh Thuan province with 122 fishermen on board were seized by the Philippine Navy about two nautical miles (3.6km) off the Tamburok coast of Balabac, in Palawan province.
The fishermen were sailing into the Philippines waters to fish under a signed contract between the Long Hai Long Company of Vietnam and the Philippines’ Premiere International Interfishing Company.
However, when they entered the Philippines’ territorial waters, they were arrested and their ships confiscated. Long Hai Long and its Filipino partner had failed to follow the laws of the Philippines.