SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Filipinos are paying it forward this time.
Almost five months after a Vietnamese boat rescued 22 Filipino fishermen whose vessel was rammed and sunk by a Chinese ship in Recto Bank (Reed Bank), a community here came to help 160 Vietnamese fishermen in distress.
Four fishing vessels carrying the Vietnamese were forced to seek shelter at Subic Bay on Thursday due to bad weather in the West Philippine Sea, according to Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr.
Paulino said the Vietnamese encountered rough seas and strong winds while at sea and had to take refuge in the nearest harbor.
The Philippine Coast Guard and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority sent out a team to escort the Vietnamese fishermen to the bay area.
The fishermen arrived safely at Barangay Kalaklan in Olongapo City where they were welcomed by villagers who offered them food and water.
“They don’t speak English so we had a hard time communicating with them,” village councilor, Gracia Osio-Oraa, told the Inquirer.
Oraa said the fishermen appeared “tired, hungry and thirsty” and had to stay in the bay area for three hours before sailing back to the open sea.
Various local groups and government offices also gave the stranded Vietnamese food and medicine, Oraa said.
On June 9, a Chinese vessel that rammed and sank a Filipino fishing boat in the Recto Bank abandoned the Filipino crew. Vietnamese fishermen rescued and fed them.
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