Sual Wharf and Causeway, Sual, Pangasinan
November 29, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the ceremonial send-off of Vietnamese fishermen at the Sual Wharf and Causeway in Sual, Pangasinan.

The fishermen namely, Messrs. Phan Lam, Phan Net, Nguyen Uan Trong, Nguyen Than Chi, and Pham To, are five of the seven Vietnamese nationals who were caught poaching in the waters of Bolinao, Pangasinan in September. Two of their companions, identified as Messrs. Le Van Liem and Le Van Reo, were killed by ‘miscalculated’ warning gunshots fired from a Philippine Navy (PN) ship that chased after their fishing vessel.

In his keynote address, the President stressed that it is his job as Chief Executive “to maintain the balance of friendship and power in the region.”

In the recently concluded 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits where the Philippines served as the host country, he said that agreements were made with the ASEAN leaders to preserve peace and cooperation among the region.

“I have to say something about our relations… We are one, we are Asians. I’m sorry for the incident, I hope it would never happen again, but these incidents will not destroy our bond,” President Duterte said.

In a briefing during the pre-program of the event, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona reported that the Vietnamese fishermen, who were then under the custody of the Philippine government, are indigents in their country. The send-off ceremony is held for humanitarian consideration.

As an act of goodwill and in the spirit of diplomacy, President Duterte, together with Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Ly Quoc Tan, bid farewell to the fishermen with the provisions of jackets, hygiene kits, fuel, and food items.

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