Rescued Zambales fisherman returns home from Vietnam
SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES — A Filipino fisherman, who was rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel, has returned home and reunited with his family in time for Christmas after being away for two months, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Sunday.
Avelino Montibon, a resident of Barangay Calapandayan in Subic town, arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila on Dec. 17 and was escorted to his hometown on Sunday by the PCG.
Montibon, 59, was reported missing on Oct. 17 when he and four other fishermen, on board a fishing vessel, sailed some 45 nautical miles (83 kilometers) southwest of Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc.
In a statement, the PCG Subic station said Montibon transferred to their service boat to inspect their “payao” (fish aggregating device) in the waters of Bajo de Masinloc but failed to return to the mother boat.
Montibon’s fellow fishermen tried to search for him but decided to abort the trip after several failed attempts to find him.
“Due to the limited supply and provision, the boat captain decided to return to Subic [at that time],” the PCG said.
10 days adrift
Montibon said he spent 10 days adrift at sea before he was rescued by a passing Vietnamese fishing vessel that took him to Phu Yen province in Vietnam.
He stayed in Vietnam for more than a month to end the mandatory quarantine and finally received his travel documents back to the Philippines earlier this month.
Commodore Hostillo Cornelio, commander of the PCG district in the National Capital Region and Central Luzon, said the agency, with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Vietnam, ensured that Montibon would be able to return to his family safely.
“The fisherman and his family are very grateful to all the government agencies who helped with his return to the country a few days before Christmas as he wishes to celebrate it with his family,” Cornelio said in the same statement. —JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT