Indonesia sends home 35 fishermen to Mindanao

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 November) — The Indonesian government has repatriated 35 more fishermen from this city and the neighboring areas who were earlier detained for illegal fishing and entry violations.

City Councilor Brix Tan, chair of the council’s committee on marine life and aquatic resources, said Tuesday the fishermen were allowed to return home by Indonesian authorities after getting reprieve from their jail sentences.

He said the repatriates arrived here on Monday aboard PT RD Pasifik International, a fishing vessel owned by local firm RD Fishing Industries (RDFI).

RDFI is owned by the family of City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, who assisted the repatriation of the fishermen through his aid group Ronnel C. Rivera or RCR Foundation Inc.

The initiative was facilitated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, RDFI and the Philippine Consulate in Manado, North Sulawesi province in Indonesia.

Tan said the repatriates mainly came from this city, Sarangani Province, Polmolok town in South Cotabato and Davao City.

He said the 35 fishermen were crew members and staff of three fishing vessels from the area that had ventured into Indonesian waters, specifically off Bitung in North Sulawesi.

The fishing boats, which were apprehended by patrolling Indonesian naval personnel, were identified as Indra Jaya, Little Angel and Golden Angel.

“Most of the repatriates were detained for three months before they were released and brought to the consulate in Manado,” Tan said.

“The apprehended fishing boats had no license to operate in Indonesian waters and that’s a problem also being faced by some fishing operators here,” he added.

The repatriated fishermen were identified as Danilo Tamayo Jr., Julito Herda, Danilo Tamayo Sr., Janel Penales, Al Bacas, Ruel Granaderos, Rolly Rulete, Dennis Tamayo, Renan Lupaz, Richard Bayot, Lucerio Angub Jr., Sotero Granaderos, Rodelo Bangalan, Faustino Villaceran, Cresencio Balaod Jr., Arniel Wenceslao, Bernabe Berondo, Mohalimin Gunting, Boyet Layasan, Rowen Alibango, Luciano Baguio Jr., Jebot Madanding, Carlito Palma, Muharidin Abas, Racel Jhun Villamera, Riel Bacas, Jonathan Garcia, Jestoni Sardillo, Dino Sajot, Deolito Ortega, Jandel Lariba, Milfredo Daya, Jimmy Liston, Enecito Alvino Jr. and Roldan Dellumes.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office provided relief assistance to the repatriates and facilitated their return to their homes.

In the last three years, the RCR Foundation already facilitated the release and repatriation of around 300 fishermen from Indonesia.

The group is currently working with the consular office in Manado regarding the status and the possible repatriation of other fishermen from this city and the neighboring areas who are still languishing in various jails in Indonesia. (MindaNews)