Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch on Friday visited the detained Filipino fishermen at the Division of Marine Law Enforcement (DMLE) dock to assure them that despite their detention they will be well treated by the Palau government.
Oilouch’s visit was in response to a plea for help by the detained fishermen, which was posted on Facebook last week.
In the said post, the 22 Filipino fishermen pleaded for help from the Philippine government to allow them to return home to their families.
The fishermen in separate incidents, in November and December last year were detained after their vessels were apprehended in Palau waters.
In the same post, the fishermen reportedly complained of lack of food while in the custody of the DMLE.
In his visit and dialogue with the fishermen, Oilouch said despite their detention, “you have to be treated right.”
The fishermen in return told Oilouch that they are treated well but they have been in custody for months where they have to sleep in the vessel.
Oilouch also said that the fishermen’s lawyers should be able to brief them on the status of their case.
The vice president however told the fishermen that he would also look into the matter.
The fishermen also asked the vice president to look into the possibility of allowing them to work temporarily in Palau while their case is being resolved.
One of the fishermen said that they have families back in General Santos City relying on them.
He said the request of the fishermen “is not a bad idea,” but he has to talk to the Division of Labor on what the law can allow in terms of temporary work for the fishermen.[/restrict]