PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: The fate of 17 Palawan fishermen who were allegedly arrested and detained by Malaysian border patrol authorities on Sunday for illegal activities remains unknown.
Authorities on Monday have yet to confirm and determine what really happened to the missing fishermen believed to be detained in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing that the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, through the Office of the Police Attache, has asked Malaysian authorities to confirm the incident but their queries were met with silence.
“We have yet to receive a response,” he said.
The strange incident began on Sunday when DFA Palawan head Liza Jane Estililia received a call from Rosalie Nerrie, said to be the owner of the vessels FB Queen and Queen 4 carrying the 17 fishermen.
Nerrie told Estililia the fishermen were apprehended by suspected Malaysian authorities between Tawi-Tawi, Mindanao and Sandakan.
The fishermen were with 12 others aboard smaller boats when the incident happened. They were surprised since Nerrie claimed they were still within Philippine waters when the arrest was made.
Before Nerrie could explain further, her line was cut and there was no way of reaching her, Estililia said.
In a separate interview, Jose said the DFA is still verifying this story.
He said DFA personnel have been sent to the Philippine-Malaysia border to determine the condition of the missing fishermen.
“Our embassy continues to gather more information about this incident and has expressed readiness to extend assistance to the fishermen,” Jose said.
WITH REPORT FROM PNA