20 Apr 2012

PNG government commits to repatriating Filipino fishermen within 10 days

5:28 pm on 20 April 2012

The Philippines ambassador to Papua New Guinea says the Minister of Fisheries has given his word that more than 50 Filipino fisherman who have been stuck in PNG for 18 months will get to leave within 10 days.

The fishermen were brought into PNG's northern Manus province by provincial government business arm Mafisco but the fishing project never got off the ground and the men stopped receiving allowances last November.

The Philippines ambassador to PNG Bien Tejano travelled to Manus this week to talk to officials from the provincial government, and political leaders.

Mr Tejano says the Minister of Fisheries Job Pomat accepted that the government had to step in.

"Finally through the minister of fisheries looking at it in a more humanitarian effort that they would have to get involved in this. They responded to my appeal to them that we should resolve this problem as quickly as possible because this does not look good to the Philippine government."

Bien Tejano says the minister promised 240,000 US dollars for fuel for the boats' return trip, provisions, and what's leftover will go towards allowances owed.