MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo visited the 22 fishermen of Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver for the second time to provide them with more cash assistance and new fishing equipment.
On Thursday, August 1, the Vice President went to Ilin Island in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where some of the Gem-Ver crew members are residing.
Under Robredo's flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay, the fishermen were given 12 units of global positioning system (GPS) and fish-finding equipment from Angat Buhay partner company Marnav Marine Electronics.
The equipment will be attached to the 12 fiberglass fishing boats that the Gem-Ver crew previously received from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Other private donors of Angat Buhay also gave cash assistance to each of the 22 fishermen, though the Office of the Vice President has not disclosed the amount as of posting time.
"Sa ating pagbisita, nagbigay tayo ng GPS at fish-finding equipment mula sa ating Angat Buhay partner, at cash assistance mula sa private donors para makatulong sa kanilang kabuhayan habang ginagawa ang barkong kanilang inaasahan para makapangisda," Robredo said in a tweet.
(During our visit, we gave GPS and fish-finding equipment from our Angat Buhay partner, and cash assistance from private donors to help with the fishermen's livelihood while their boat is still being repaired.)
The Vice President first visited Occidental Mindoro on June 21, when each of the fishermen received P50,000 from Angat Buhay.
On June 10, the Gem-Ver fishing boat was sunk by a Chinese ship in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea. Found in the West Philippine Sea, Recto Bank is coveted by China, but the Philippines has exclusive fishing rights in the area. It is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
Abandoned by the Chinese, the Filipino fishermen were left drifting at sea. They were later rescued by crew members of a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The Vice President previously condemned "in the strongest possible terms the irresponsible actions of the Chinese crew involved in the incident."