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Piñol to oversee gov’t aid for rescued Pinoy fishermen – Nograles

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By Prince Golez

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has been designated to lead the government response to assist the 22 Filipino fishermen whose boat sank at Recto Bank after it collided with a Chinese ship in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS), said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

In a statement released to reporters Monday, Nograles said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi will assist Piñol in carrying out the assigned responsibilities.

“Sec. Piñol has been directed to tap all available government resources––including assistance from DA (Department of Agriculture) and (Department of Social Welfare and Development)––to assist our countrymen, with components of the support package to come from other government agencies,” he added.

The Economic Development and Security, Justice, and Peace clusters held Monday afternoon a joint meeting on the June 9 incident that resulted in the sinking of the Philippine fishing boat.

“The objective of the meeting was twofold: the protection of our countrymen and the exercise of our nation’s rights in our Exclusive Economic Zone,” said Nograles.

He added: “Initial action has already been taken, with the filing of a strongly-worded diplomatic protest that was handed over to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Chinese Government on June 13.”

The secretary said the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Region IV-B Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security have conducted initial inquiries “to determine the extent of the liabilities involved and in order to ascertain the most effective legal means to obtain justice for our countrymen.”

These efforts, he added, will be complemented by further investigations by the Maritime Authority and the PCG.

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