Philippines will not arrest encroaching Vietnamese fishermen, will tell them to leave
The Philippines and Vietnam agreed not to apprehend Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen who encroach in their areas, but tell them to leave.
In an interview with reporters in Clark Airbase on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this was agreed when he made an official visit in Vietnam last week.
“They have their own style of dealing with the Chinese. We also have ours but we agreed is that circumstances are different...We’d have to deal with the Chinese depending on our peculiar circumstances. Now we also talked about dealing with the fishermen encroaching on each others' area,” he said.
“Because we have apprehended many Vietnamese fishermen here, in fact in 2016 four vessels in Sual… we agreed that if they were caught just tell them to go back to their area. Let’s not apprehend them, they give us headache,” he added.
Lorenzana said arresting fishermen encroaching in Philippine waters cause “a lot of trouble”.
“Like for instance the four ships, fishing boats. When we let them go in Sual in 2016, they even asked for full tank (of gasoline for) everyone of them. We also give them food, so it brings a lot of trouble. So if we see them, just warn them you are in Philippine waters please go back to your area,” he said.
“In like manner, if our fishermen reach their area, just tell them to go back because they do not know, they do not have GPS,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS