MANADO, INDONESIA - Ambassador Maria Lumen B. Isleta and Consul General Oscar G. Orcine and their team visited detained Filipinos in Bitung from January 18-20.

The team from the Consulate General met with the Indonesian government officials in Manado and Bitung to talk about tangible solutions to the problems faced by Filipinos apprehended by Indonesian maritime enforcement agencies for purported illegal fishing activities in Indonesian waters.

Indonesian authorities Mr. Olly Dondokambey, Governor of North Sulawesi; Mr. Ricardo Sitindjak, Acting Chief Prosecutor of North Sulawesi; Mr. Pondang Tambunan, Acting Regional Head, Ministry of Law and Human Rights; Acting Commandant Eddy Setiawan, Lantamal VIII Navy HQ in Manado and Major Ivan Halim, Commander of Satkala Lantamal VIII Naval Base in Bitung; and Mr. Maurits Mantiri, Acting Mayor of Bitung all agreed that abeyance with the existing Philippines' and Indonesian Agreements (i.e. 1975 RP-RI Border Patrol Agreement, PH-RI Agreement on Consular Notification and Assistance signed on February 14, 2014) is necessary to protect the rights and welfare of the Filipino fishermen apprehended in Indonesia.

Ambassador Isleta recognized the massive campaign of the Indonesian government in eradicating illegal fishing activities in Indonesia and fully respects Indonesia's Fisheries Law but highlighted the fact that all of which must conform with the standards enumerated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to assure that the rights of the fishermen are fully protected and implemented. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs