Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called for immediate justice in connection with the recent maritime tragedy off Bajo de Masinloc that claimed the lives of three Filipino fishermen.
Go has extended assistance to the bereaved families, and emphasized the need for accountability and protective measures to safeguard Filipino fishermen in the country’s territorial waters.
In an interview on Thursday, Oct. 5, after attending the World Teachers’ Day celebration in Antipolo City, Go expressed his condolences to the families of the fishermen.
“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 (I express my condolences to the bereaved family of the three fishermen who died after their boat was rammed by a commercial vessel in [Bajo de] Masinloc),” he said.
“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 (My office is open to help them and in fact, I have coordinated with their family, to the kids. We have provided financial assistance to them),” he added.
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, highlighted 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 (Whatever is true. Hopefully the reported harrassments stop especially for these small fishermen who do nothing but make a living through fishing),” added Go.
The tragic event unfolded on the morning of Oct. 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 Barangay 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.