Filipino-Chinese group offers aid to 22 fishermen

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Filipino-Chinese group offers aid to 22 fishermen
Henry Lim Bon Liong
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — A group of Chinese-Filipino businessmen has offered assistance to the 22 crewmembers of F/B GemVer 1.

The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) also called for sobriety in the wake of a “collision” with a Chinese vessel that sank the boat in Recto Bank in Palawan on June 9.

In a press statement yesterday, federation president Henry Lim Bon Liong said his group is offering the crew its “sincere assistance and support” in repairing the fishing boat.

“While the Philippine and China governments are still ascertaining what really happened, so far the real truth that we are already sure of is that our 22 Filipino brothers had lost their fishing vessel and their means of livelihood,” the group said.

“The FFCCCII wishes to offer our sincere assistance and support to our fellow countrymen, the 22 fishermen, in the immediate rehabilitation of their damaged fishing boat, so that they can resume their livelihood. We wish to express our concern for their welfare and our solidarity,” it said.

More assistance

Other business groups have also pledged P1 million worth of assistance to fishermen.

In a statement yesterday, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said it is providing the donation along with the International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICCP) and the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce.

Half of the amount would be used as livelihood support for the Filipino fishermen, while the other half would be for the repair of the fishing boat.

The business groups are extending help to the affected fishermen upon request of the Mindoro Chamber of Commerce.

ICCP director general Jesus Varela said based on his conversation with the vessel’s owner, it would take about one month for Gemver’s repair works to be completed.

Last June 9, a Filipino fishing boat anchored in Recto Bank sank after a Chinese vessel rammed it. However, instead of helping the affected fishermen to safety, it fled and left them in the waters. Vietnamese fishermen later rescued them from the seas.

While the Chinese embassy confirmed on Friday that a Chinese vessel sank the Filipino fishing boat, it claimed that the Chinese crew had to abandon efforts to rescue the Filipino fishermen as they were “besieged” by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats.

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