PCCI donates P1-M to 22 abandoned fishermen

By the Philippine News Agency

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on Sunday donated P1 million to the 22 fishermen who were abandoned after their fishing boat was allegedly hit by a Chinese vessel in the waters off the Recto Bank on June 9.

Rescued Filipino fishermen sit inside Philippine Navy ship BRP Ramon Alcuaz as they head back to shore at Occidental Mindoro province, Philippines on Friday June 14, 2019. The Philippines' top diplomat said he has filed a diplomatic protest after an anchored fishing boat was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel which then abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as the boat sank in the disputed South China Sea. (AP Photo) Rescued Filipino fishermen sit inside Philippine Navy ship BRP Ramon Alcuaz as they head back to shore at Occidental Mindoro province on Friday, June 14, 2019. (AP Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

The PCCI-led International Chamber of Commerce and Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce donated P500,000 for the livelihood support of the fishermen and P500,000 for the repair of the fishing boat in the Recto Bank incident, PCCI said in a statement.

The Chamber pledged to donate the amount "upon the request of the Mindoro Chamber of Commerce and after talking with the owner of the fishing boat."

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Elizer Salilig on Friday welcomed the fishermen upon arrival at Occidental Mindoro aboard the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz.

Salilig gave each of the fishermen a sack of rice as immediate assistance and committed to distribute 22 fiber glass boats with complete accessories, including engine and nets to the fishermen.

According to earlier reports from the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a Chinese vessel collided and sank F/B Gimver1 which was anchored near Recto Bank, leaving the 22 crewmen floundering in the water.

Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on June 12 called for an investigation on the issue.

Lorenzana said a Vietnamese fishing vessel, which was in the vicinity, rescued all 22 fishermen and brought them to safety in coordination with the military's Western Command.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, in support of Lorenzana's view, called on appropriate Chinese authorities "to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew."

Panelo stressed that "common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel," whether the collision was accidental or intentional.

On June 14, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said Beijing would punish those responsible for the sinking of F/B Gimver1, if proven that they were indeed Chinese nationals.