THE governments of Vietnam and the Philippines have expressed willingness to address the recurring problem of unregulated fishing by Vietnamese fishermen in Philippine waters based on existing Fisheries Law in the country, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Wednesday. Del Rosario made the statement as he confirmed the release of 120 Vietnamese fishermen who were caught poaching by Philippine authorities.
He also said that the release by the government of seven fishing vessels that were engaged in the same unregulated activity were in accordance with the willingness of President Benigno S. Aquino III to resolve the issue, “as a manifestation of goodwill” with the government of Vietnam. “We did say that we need to address the fact that we do have a fisheries law and that…there’s a legal process that we must observe if similar incidents are experienced by us in the future,” Del Rosario told reporters in a chance interview at Malacañang’s Reception Hall. Responding to the Philippines government’s stand on the issue, Del Rosario said Vietnam was “acquiesced to the fact that…we are governed by laws and maybe in the future this unregulated fishing will have to be reviewed…by both countries”.
Del Rosario cited President Aquino’s position that despite the generosity extended by the Philippine government to the fishermen of Vietnam, their poaching activities on Philippine waters cannot go on. “I think that was implied when he said that we need to take a good look at this because this unregulated fishing is really subjected to a legal process that we need to inject in future incidents,” Del Rosario said. (pcoo)