The Case of Nine Filipino Fishermen, and Its Message

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Media reports nine Filipino fishermen were arrested by the Eritrean coast guard for fishing in its territorial waters. The Philippine Embassy in Cairo said it will work with the Eritrean government for their “immediate release”.

By Yosief Abraham Z.,

Various Media outlets of Philippines are thundering the case of the 9 Filipino fishermen who are under the control of the Eritrean coast guards. According to Philstar, the nine fishermen came from Saudi Arabia and unwittingly crossed the boundary of the Eritrean Maritime territories. And without denying the incident happened from the fishermen, Philippines government asserts that the government is affirmative for having humanitarian consideration from the Eritrean government, stressing that the Filipino fishermen were “victims of anti-fisher folk policies in their own country.”

Being one of the worlds’ abundantly blessed maritime ventures; the Eritrean Red Sea has been appealing various fishermen from various corners. Reports from Eritrea show that intermittent illegal fishing activities from neighbor countries which have now depleted stocks have been a common threat. And knowing that the Eritrean maritime is endowed with an opportunity for rendering up to 80,000 tons of fishes annually is a condition against Philippines and other countries status.

Acknowledged to this, therefore, “It is ironic that we are an archipelagic country rich in marine resources, yet Filipino fishermen are forced to go to faraway places almost beyond the reach of their own government for protection,” authenticated Pamalakaya vice chairman Salvador France.

By the same coin, in a radio interview he held on Saturday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., said that the Department of Foreign Affairs is still verifying the incident and has not received official information from the ground.

France, however, said that much of the blame for the plight of Filipino fishermen should be pinned on the Fisheries Code of 1998 and underscores that as inescapable reason for the poverty of Philippines fishermen in the past 20 years.

Despite this, as the Consul of Eritrea in Jeddah affirmed, the nine Filipino caught legally after they ventured in Eritrean waters from Saudi Arabia. And in tandem with this, such incidents testify that Eritrea has the responsibility of guarding its coasts and armoring the right track for tapping the maritime of the country in prolific way.