MANILA Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. PiAol has been designated as chairman of the government response team to primarily focus on assisting the 22 fishermen, who were abandoned after their fishing vessel F/B Gem-Ver 1 was allegedly hit by a Chinese vessel on the waters off Recto Bank (Reed Bank) on June 9.
According to the statement issued by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on Monday, the DA chief, together with Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) Region 4-B head, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as co-lead, was directed to tap all available government resources including assistance from DA and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) "to assist our countrymen, with components of the support package to come from other government agencies".
He said the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and CORDS Region 4-B were tasked to conduct initial inquiries regarding the incident "to determine the extent of the liabilities involved and in order to ascertain the most effective legal means to obtain justice for our countrymen".
PiAol, in a text message to the Philippines News Agency (PNA), said he will immediately act on the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
PiAol said he will proceed to Occidental Mindoro on Wednesday to deliver government assistance to the 22 affected fishermen.
The DA-BFAR earlier committed to help the 22 fishermen by giving them each a fiberglass boat with complete accessories, including engine and nets.
They were also given a sack of rice upon arrival in Occidental Mindoro on June 14. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency