Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Emmanuel A. Leyco today assisted President Rodrigo R. Duterte during the send off ceremony for the five Vietnamese fishermen who were apprehended 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao for poaching last September 23.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) filed the case of illegal fishing in Philippine waters against the five fishermen and they were charged with administrative fines. However, they begged for leniency, citing their poverty.

The fines were waived after the Philippine government received their indigency certificates from the Vietnamese consulate

The DSWD was among the government agencies which extended assistance to the five fishermen as they return to their country.

“It is a humanitarian act on the part of the government that we help the Vietnamese fishermen. The Department gave them provisions adequate enough for their journey back home,” said DSWD OIC Leyco.

The said provision consists of the following: 20 kilos of commercial rice, 20 kilos of fresh meat, 5 liters of cooking oil, 15 kilos of vegetables, 600 liters of drinking water, two liters of soy sauce, two kilos of salt, 1000 liters of running water, five hygiene kits, five pieces of malongs and ten laminated packs.

DSWD OIC Leyco also said that the gesture emphasizes the importance of regional solidarity among members of ASEAN nations.

Magandang pagkakataon ito para lalong magkaunawaan ang mga bansang Pilipinas at Vietnam. After all, magkakapitbahay tayong bansa, (This is a good opportunity for the Philippines and Vietnam to strengthen its ties. After all, we are neighbors,” he said.

Aside from the DSWD, provincial and local officials were also present in the off ceremony for the Vietnamese fishermen at the Wharf and Causeway in Sual, Pangasinan.

Also present in the send-off is Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Troung Trieu Duomg who expressed his gratitude to Pres. Duterte. ###