WestMinCom tackles apprehension of 8 Vietnamese off Tawi-Tawi

Published April 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) has reportedly convened an inter-agency meeting to tackle appropriate sanctions that could be meted on eight Vietnamese nationals who were apprehended aboard a Philippine-registered boat off Tawi-Tawi last April 3.

(Military-supplied photo showing Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command chief, presiding over an inter-agency meeting in Zamboanga City he convened on April 6 to tackle sanctions against eight Vietnamese nationals caught aboard a Philippine-registered vessel off Turtle Islands’ town in Tawi-Tawi on April 3. Among the officials present was town Mayor Mohd Faizal Jamalul, who caught the foreigners.)

“We are consolidating all necessary legal documents for the filing of appropriate charges against the apprehended personalities,” WesMinCom Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Monday.

The meeting was attended by officials of various government entities, including the chief of the police station in Turtle Islands in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi and town Mayor Mohd Faizal Jamalul.

Citing the mayor’s report, Sobejana named the eight Vietnamese nationals as Tran Van Phuc, Nguyen Thanh Doan, Nguyen Thanh Tung, Tran Thanh Luy, Thach Trong, Nguyen Trung Hieu, Nguyen Tan Luc, and Nguyen Van Kham.

In his report, Jamalul said his “team, composed of police personnel and municipal employees, was heading to Boan Island to distribute relief goods” for island villagers affected by lockdowns in the campaign against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

At about 9.a.m. on April 3, the relief team spotted a ferry boat off Taganak’s Turtle Islands and checked on its crews, thinking the vessel could be violating anti-illegal poaching laws.

During the check, the team discovered the eight Vietnamese nationals claiming to be members of the crews of F/B Amina bearing “BOW number BARMM-TAWI-0225-19” and registered in the name of a certain Al-Amin Ismael.

The apprehended foreigners have been “undergoing investigation while the vessel was temporarily held near the Taganak shoreline,” according to Sobejana.

Sobejana lauded the efforts of the mayor and his team, saying “convergence and lateral coordination are very vital to ensure security posture and address challenges in our maritime domain.” (Ali G. Macabalang)