Piñol tasked to lead gov’t team assisting fishermen in Recto bank incident
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte Cabinet has designated Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to lead the government team assisting the 22 Filipino fishermen involved in the West Philippine Sea incident.
The decision was reached during a joint Cabinet cluster meeting between the Economic Development and Security, Justice, and Peace clusters on Monday afternoon, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who has been assigned to handle the affairs of the Mimaropa Region, was named co-lead of the government initiative. He is a native of Oriental Mindoro, where the fishermen are based.
“Sec. Piñol has been directed to tap all available government resources — including assistance from DA and DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) — to assist our countrymen, with components of the support package to come from other government agencies,” Nograles said in a statement.
According to the fishermen, they were abandoned and left floating in open sea for hours after a Chinese vessel crashed into their boat.
However, China’s Embassy in Manila denied that the Chinese vessel hit and abandoned the F/B Gem-Ver 1 and its crewmen.
The boat’s captain said they stayed afloat in the cold sea for hours before they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The incident near Recto Bank, an underwater feature within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, prompted the Philippine government to file a diplomatic protest against China. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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