Fishers come home to PH, narrate abuses in Malaysia
SUBIC, Zambales—Three Filipino fishermen, who were held on May 9 by the Malaysian Navy, urged the Philippine government to sue the people who assaulted them while they were being detained.
Nelson Plamiano, Arlon Sandro and Odelin Baisa, all residents of this coastal town, returned home on Saturday, following their arrest on a charge of illegally fishing in Malaysian waters.
They were released on May 10 after a four-hour detention in a Malaysian ship where they were allegedly beaten up by at least 20 Malaysians.
“We were handcuffed, slapped in the face, punched and kicked in the chest. We were forced to kneel on the hot floor of the ship’s deck,” Plamiano recounted to the Inquirer.
The fishermen, who were crew members of FB Justin Lloyd, suffered cuts, bruises and burns on their knees as a result of the abuses.
“At that moment, I thought we were going to die… There was no way to escape,” Plamiano said.
According to the fishermen, they were freed the day after a Malaysian Navy official called the ship’s officer and ordered their release.
“We are asking our government to file charges against the Malaysian authorities who detained and assaulted us. We want them removed from their jobs,” Plamiano said.
The fishermen were spotted by Malaysian maritime policemen, who claimed the Filipinos illegally entered Malaysia’s territorial waters, southwest of the Philippines.
But Plamiano said they were still within the territorial waters of the Philippines, about 17 nautical miles from the Rizal (Commodore) Reef, when the Malaysian authorities approached them.
The fishermen said the Malaysian maritime policemen asked for their passports and other documents. “Since we did not have passports and we could not produce other papers, they detained us in their ship,” Plamiano said.
According to the fishermen, they reported the abuses to the Philippine Navy detachment at the Rizal Reef.
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