DFA urged to seek release of 50 Filipino fishermen jailed in Indonesia

April Rafales, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2018 07:34 PM

MANILA - A lawmaker is urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to seek diplomatic solutions for the possible release of 50 Filipino fishermen serving jail sentences in Indonesia for allegedly fishing beyond Philippine borders. 

Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the committee on foreign relations, said there have been no clear information on the situation of the fishermen. The actual violations of the Filipinos have yet to be clarified as well.

"Ano ba ang law na viniolate? bakit di ma-repatriate? Who’s providing for their lawyers? Bailable ba yan?," she said during the Senate panel hearing on the 2014 deal between Philippines and Indonesia on the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone. 

Legarda said one of the growing concerns of some of the fisherme is Indonesia's strict implementation of their law based on the parameters of the exclusive economic zone, an area within 200 nautical miles of the country's coastal baseline. 

For his part, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Generoso Calonge said they will communicate with the Indonesian government.

"I don’t know the situation on the other side. I haven’t seen the place, the border areas and I cannot speak on the manner of apprehension of the Filipinos. We will interact with them. We will consult our Consulate, and we will consult with our border people," he said.