Robredo to Vietnamese ambassador: Thank you for saving our fishermen

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo told Vietnamese Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan how grateful Filipinos were after a Vietnamese vessel saved the 22 22 fishermen of Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver in Recto Bank.  

The Vice President met with Ly at her office in Quezon City on Wednesday, June 26.  

“If you listen to the stories, they were really very thankful to the Vietnamese. They kept on repeating that were it not for them, they would have died already…. Thank you in behalf of, not just in behalf of the fishermen, but in behalf of the people of the Philippines,” Robredo told Ly, based on a statement sent to reporters by her office. 

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 UNCLOS-designed exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

Left behind by the Chinese, the Filipino fishermen were left drifting at sea. They were later rescued by the crew members of the Vietnamese fishing boat TGTG-90983-TS. The Vietnamese fed the Filipino crew with chicken, noodles, and biscuits. (READ: INSIDE STORY: How Filipino crew were saved by Vietnamese in West PH Sea)

As a sign of gratitude, the Gem-Ver fishermen decided to give their dog Jimboy to their Vietnamese rescuers, who grew fond of the dog they also rescued at sea.  

Robredo herself visited the 22 Gem-Ver fishermen in Occidental Mindoro on June 21 and gave each of them P50,000 through her flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay. 

Robredo earlier issued a statement condemning "in the strongest possible terms the irresponsible actions of the Chinese crew involved in the incident. – Rappler.com

For Rappler comprehensive coverage of the Recto Bank issue, go here: 
The sinking of a Philippine fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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