Gov’t helps families of 14 missing fishermen

Published June 30, 2020, 4:45 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government will provide one sack of rice as an immediate intervention for families of 14 fishing crew and passengers still missing after their boat, F/V Liberty 5, collided with a Chinese cargo vessel over the weekend.

This undated handout photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on June 29, 2020 shows the fishing boat Liberty 5 after it collided with a cargo ship registered in Hong Kong early on June 28 off the coast of Mindoro island, southwest of Manila.
(Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

On Tuesday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), in partnership with BFAR, already identified the names of the missing fishing crew and passengers.

They are Jose Magnes E. Alfonso (Captain), Renante H. Dahon (Chief Mate), Reynil V. Magura (Chief Engineer), Miguel Q. Booc III (Assistant Chief Engineer), Joeffry R. Bantog (Oiler), Jeerom D. Alaska (Oiler), Michael B. Flores (Master Hatchman), Jayson A. Vigonte (Hatchman), Adrian Robert S. Amogod (Hatchman), Bartolome P. Oab, Jr. (Hatchman), Herbert J. Dalabajan (Hatchman), Reynald S. Riparip (Passenger), Ariel L. Tabang (Passenger) and Edwardo S. Manipol, Jr. (Passenger).

As an immediate assistance, BFAR will give one sack of rice to each family of the missing fishing crew and passengers.

It also assured them of livelihood assistance such as 30-footer motorized fiberglass fishing boats.

“The DA-BFAR offers its sincerest thoughts to the families of the missing fishing crew and passengers during this difficult time,” the agency said in a statement.

Following reports of the missing Filipino fishing crew and passengers whose boat collided with Hong Kong-registered vessel M/V Vienna Wood off the coast of Occidental Mindoro before dawn on Sunday, June 28, BFAR immediately deployed the Fisheries Resource Protection Groups (FRPG) of Sablayan and Lubang, Occidental Mindoro Stations to the site of the incident.

This is to assist in the search and rescue operations headed by the PCG and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Paluan, Occidental Mindoro.

In a separate statement, AM Nomikos, which manages Vienna Wood N, said they initiated a search operation immediately after the incident and found no survivors.

On Tuesday, militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said it’s the Philippine government’s inability to hold anyone accountable for the ‘hit-and-run’ incident involving 22 Filipino fishermen and a Chinese vessel last year that allowed the aforementioned similar incident to happen.

“Gem/Ver 1 before, now it’s the Liberty 5. It’s the same tragic incident perpetrated by a Chinese vessel that continues to operate and disrespect our fishers in our very own territorial waters. The Duterte government’s continuing inaction against Chinese violation of our fishing rights encourages foreign vessels entering our waters to belittle the safety and welfare of Filipino fishers,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson, said.

PAMALAKAYA then reiterated its call to hold the Chinese captain and owner of the colliding ship accountable for endangering the lives of Filipino fishing crew.

“The full-force of the law should be applied against this foreign vessel and the government should act fast to rescue the victimized fisherfolks. We have high hopes that our authorities are able to find and get justice for the fishing crew that went missing,” said Hicap.