Rody vows to release 10 Vietnamese poachers

DA NANG  – President Duterte last night pledged to release 10 Vietnamese fishermen caught poaching in Palawan last August following a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang on the sidelines of the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) here.

“The President (Duterte) promised to release the Vietnamese fishermen  before the end of the month,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque in an interview after the meeting of the two leaders.

At the same time, Duterte pushed for the need to address the conflict with China over the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea through bilateral and multi-platforms to achieve peace and stability in the region.

Duterte responded after Quang raised the need to resolve the sea dispute with China as he noted the mechanisms under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Roque said the President expressed hope that the two countries would be able to resolve the West Philippine Sea issue with Beijing. “They look forward to progess ASEAN mechanisms on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea,” he added.

During their meeting, Duterte apologized for the killing of the Vietnamese who were held captive by the Abu Sayyaf and vowed to arrest the perpetrators and bring justice to the victims.

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He also extended deepest condolences to the families of the two fishermen during an encounter between the Philippine Navy and Vietnamese fishermen last September.

At the start of the meeting, Duterte thanked Quang and congratuled him for the successful hosting of the APEC.

Duterte followed up on the agreements and discussions he had with Quang during his official visit to Hanoi last year.   

Quang also vowed to help provide 200 metric tons of rice for the victims of Marawi, Roque said.

In another bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill of Papua New Guinea,  Duterte thanked the country for helping 35,000 Filpinos now working there.

He committed to help Papua New Guinea in developing its agriculture like planting of rice via the International Rice  Reaserch Institute. The two leaders also talked about economic issues, especially the strengthening of  tuna industry.

Duterte said he was happy about the Philippines having daily flights to Port Moresby.