MANILA - The Philippine government on Monday promised Hanoi a fair investigation into the deaths of two Vietnamese fishermen during an incident involving the Philippine Navy off the coast of Pangasinan.
The Northern Luzon Command said they chased the Vietnamese fishermen who evaded arrest for fishing illegally in waters off Bolinao, Pangasinan. The foreigners allegedly fought naval authorities, prompting a shoot-out.
The bodies of the 2 slain Vietnamese nationals were brought to a morgue, while their 5 companions were taken into the Bolinao police custody.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano assured Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh that authorities will look into the incident, during a meeting of Southeast Asian ministers in New York.
"We would like to offer our sympathies over the unfortunate loss of life and give you our assurance that we will conduct a fair and thorough investigation into this matter," Cayetano was quoted as telling Minh in a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Cayetano said investigating teams from the Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine National Police have been dispatched to Pangasinan.
The 5 arrested Vietnamese fishermen will be accorded proper treatment, Cayetano added.
DFA officials, he said, are giving regular updates to the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila.