Press Release
October 9, 2023

Bong Go demands justice for Filipino fishermen in tragic maritime incident; extends support to bereaved families

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go addressed the recent maritime tragedy off Bajo de Masinloc that claimed the lives of three Filipino fishermen, by calling for immediate justice, extending assistance to the grieving families, and emphasizing the need for accountability and protective measures to safeguard Filipino fishermen in the country's territorial waters.

In an interview on Thursday, October 5, after attending the World Teachers' Day celebration in Antipolo City, Go expressed his condolences to the families of the fishermen, stating, "Una, nakikiramay po ako sa naulilang pamilya ng mga kababayan nating mangingisda na nasawi po matapos po nu'ng naiulat na pagkabangga ng isang commercial vessel diyan po sa Masinloc."

"Bukas po ang aking opisina para tumulong sa kanila, and in fact, nakipag-coordinate na po ako sa kanilang pamilya, sa anak. At nakapagbigay tayo ng kaunting abuloy," he said.

Go, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Peace and Order and the Senate Committee on National Defense, called for immediate justice for the victims.

"Nananawagan po ako na mabigyan kaagad ng hustisya, at narinig ko naman po, nangako ang ating Pangulo, Pangulong Bongbong Marcos, na mabigyan po ng hustisya," he said.

He emphasized that such incidents should not happen again, especially to small fishermen who are merely trying to make a living.

"Kung ano talaga ang totoo. Sana ay matigil na rin po 'yung naiuulat na mga harassment, lalong-lalo na po dito sa maliliit nating mangingisda na wala pong ginawa kundi maghanapbuhay, mangisda nga po," added Go.

The tragic event unfolded on the morning of October 2 at around 4:20 a.m., as the Filipino fishing vessel "Dearyn" was anchored roughly 85 nautical miles to the northwest of Bajo de Masinloc. A reported collision with a commercial ship led to the unfortunate loss of life for the boat's captain and two of its crew members, although 11 individuals managed to survive the incident.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) released the names of the deceased: Decter Laudencia, who was the captain of the boat, along with crew members Romeo Mejeco, aged 38, and Benedict Olandria, aged 62. All hailed from Brgy. Calapandayan in Subic, Zambales.

In an effort to identify the foreign ship involved in the collision, the PCG has been rigorously investigating the matter.

Go said that the tragedy underscores not just the immediate need for justice but also the longer-term issues that Filipino fishermen face, including their livelihood and territorial rights.

"Kaya nga po nangingisda para may maitustos sa pamilya. Sila pa ang naging biktima, nabunggo pa at namatay pa. Buhay pa ang binuwis nila. Dapat mabigyan ng hustisya at isaalang-alang po kung saan ang hanapbuhay nila... Atin 'yan eh. 'Yung lugar na nangingisda sila -- atin po 'yan. Karapatan po 'yan ng mga (Filipino) fisherman," concluded Go.

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