By Genalyn Kabiling
DA NANG, Vietnam — President Duterte has promised to release a group of Vietnamese fishermen arrested for alleged poaching in Philippine waters before end of the month.
The President made the gesture during a bilateral meeting with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here on Thursday afternoon.
“Doon sa Vietnam, nangako ang Presidente na yung mga nahuling na Vietnamese na mangingisda ay palalayain bago matapos ang buwan [In his meeting with Vietnam leader, the President promised to release the detained Vietnamese fishermen before the end of the month],” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. told reporters after the Duterte’s meeting with the Vietnamese counterpart.
Last August, 10 Vietnamese fishermen were reportedly arrested for allegedly poaching sharks and other fishes in El Nino, Palawan. The Philippine Navy was patrolling the area when it spotted the foreign fishermen. The fishermen, currently under the custody of the Palawan police, have been slapped with charges of poaching.
Roque said the President also offered his apology and sympathies for the killing of the Vietnamese nationals held captive by Abu Sayyaf group. Duterte has affirmed his resolve to run after the perpetrators and bring justice to the victims.
The President also extended his deepest condolences to the families of the two Vietnamese nationals killed during an encounter with the Philippine Navy.
The Vietnamese leader, meantime, promised to give 200 metric tons of rice for the displaced families of war-torn Marawi City, according to Roque.
He said the two leaders also agreed with the rules-based resolution of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping claims with China on the disputed seas.
“S’yempre magkasundo rin sila, na nais ng parehong bansa na maresolba ang hidwaan sa West Philippine Sea sang-ayon sa UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [They both agreed, the two nations want the resolution of the conflict in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea],” he said.
“They look forward to progress of ASEAN mechanisms on code of conduct in the South China Sea,” he added.
After the bilateral talks with Vietnam, the President met with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on efforts to enhance bilateral relations.
Roque said the President promised the country will help Papua New Guinea in rice production. He noted that rice has become a national staple in Papua New Guinea but its people still lack the know-how on the efficient planting rice.
“Pinangako ng Pangulo yung tulong ng IRRI sa Papua New Guinea [The President promised that International Rice Research Institute will help Papua New Guinea],” he said.
The two countries have also affirmed economic relations, including tuna trade industry.
Roque said Papua New Guinea promised it will be “very fair” in the tuna trade, adding it was only requiring its canning facility to process the tuna sourced from its seas.
“Hindi naman nila pinagbabawal na yung sobra mapadala sa Pilipinas, sa iba pang parts ng daigdig [They are not disallowing the tuna trade to the Philippines, other parts of the world],” he said.
Tags: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, bilateral meeting, Duterte promises to release group of Vietnamese fishermen, Manila Bulletin, President Duterte, President Tran Dai Quang, territorial dispute, Vietnamese fishermen
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