DSWD assures fishermen of sunken boat 'continuous assistance'

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the 22 fishermen of sunken Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver that it would provide assistance to them and their families until they have recovered and resumed their livelihoods.

The DSWD said on Tuesday, July 2, that its Mimaropa and Occidental Mindoro offices are coordinating to assess and determine services needed by the fishermen.

It also reviewing the possibility of providing the fishermen livelihood assistance and educational assistance for their children. This will be done through the department's sustainable livelihood program and assistance to individuals in crisis, respectively.

"DSWD assures the fishermen and their families that the Department will continue to assist them until they have fully recovered from the incident and are able to live normal lives," it said.

The DSWD earlier gave the fishermen P10,000 cash assistance and two food packs to each of the 22 fishermen as part of its immediate response.

Rebuilding after the ramming: On June 9, a Chinese fishing vessel rammed the rear of Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea. Recto Bank is an underwater reef formation which belongs to the Philippines and is being coveted by China.

The impact left a gaping hole at the back of the Filipino boat, causing most of it to sink. After the collision, the Chinese abandoned the Filipino fishermen to sink with the boat. The Filipinos were later saved by a Vietnamese ship. (TIMELINE: Sinking of Filipino boat in West PH Sea by Chinese ship)

Why this matters: The sinking wrecked the boat’s machinery while fishermen lost personal items and months worth of income. They are now in the process of repairing the F/B Gem-Ver. (READ: Loss after boat sinking estimated at P2.2 M)

Owners and fishermen of Gem-Ver estimated it could take at least 2 months before they could resume work and the boat could return to sea. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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