Monday, August 24, 2009

Indonesia frees 31 jailed Filipino fishermen

Mayor Enrique Yap Jr.,of Glan town in Sarangani province in the southern Philippines, welcomes Saturday, August 22, 2009 the 31 jailed Filipino fishermen freed by Indonesia. (Photo by Bobby Saya-ang)

SARANGANI, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 24, 2009) – Jakarta has repatriated 31 Filipino fishermen after pardoning them from various violations against fishing laws of Indonesia.

The Filipinos arrived in Sarangani province from Manado over the weekend, said Glan town Mayor Enrique Yap Jr., who is also the chairman of the Jose Abad Santos-Glan-Sarangani Cooperation Triangle (JAGS-CT).

In a statement, the mayor said the latest batch of freed Filipino fishermen to have been repatriated to the town of Glan brought to 403 the number of those released from Indonesian jails since 2005. The releases, he said, were facilitated by JAGS-CT.

JAGS-CT is a cluster of southern Philippines towns formed in 2003 in support to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). It aims to increase trade, tourism and investments by enhancing cross-border linkages with the northern provinces of Indonesia.

Yap said the Indonesia released the fishermen after their wives appealed for their release. Most of the fishermen were arrested in 2008 for poaching inside Indonesian waters.

“The appeal of the fishermen’s wives prompted him to request the government of Indonesia for the fishermen’s pardon and release,” Yap said.

Yap identified the freed fishermen as Allen Aranas, Alberto Cambal, Ronilo Tagpuno, Ponciano Suralta Jr., Rocky Suralta, Jessie Suralta, Samalito Suralta, Joel Plenos, Gerry Colaste, Victoriano Sumampong, Arturo Donaire, Bobby Rivera, Bonifacio Baleroso, Mervin Lebano.

And Emoksan Diva, Jose Alfuerto, Berto Alegre, Vicente Salabsab, Noel Magbanua, Alexis Abellar, Anthony Abellar, Peter Paul Lamanilao, Jaime Tagalog, Lito Montillano, Danacio Lapis, Rene Palero, Panfilo Orio, Ranny Pilapil, Zaldy Cabilao, Armando Pilapil and Michael Enad.

Majority of them were from General Santos City and three from Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur and Sarangani.

Yap said Indonesia would release 23 more Filipino fishermen next month. (With reports from Beverly Paoyon and Geo Solmerano)

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