One-hundred-thirty-six Filipinos detained for illegally fishing in the waters of Indonesia last year have been repatriated by the Consulate General in Manado, the Department of Foreign Affairs has reported.
They were expected to arrive on Thursday night at the wharf of RDEX Compound in General Santos City via Kuda Laut 01, a vessel owned by Bitung, Indonesia-based Filipino businessman Voltaire Loma.
The Regional Consulate Office in General Santos City and local government officials were requested to assist the fishermen upon their arrival.
The Philippine Consulate General in Manado, led by Philippine Consul General Oscar Orcine, extended its appreciation for the cooperation of the Indonesian government in the repatriation process.
The fishermen were separately held in different immigration centers in Sorong, Ternate and Bitung and Detention Center in Manado for several months after they were arrested in 2015.
The series of arrest came more than a year after the Philippines and Indonesia formally agreed to pursue discussions on possible negotiation of their overlapping portions of the continental shelf, an undersea mass often exploited for mineral resources, in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea.
MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO