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29/08/2018: PCG HONOLULU VISITS FILIPINO FISHERMEN IN PIER 17

Filipino fishermen each representing one vessel, receive basketballs from the PCG. Pastor Jerry Saludez of the Seafarer’s Ministry is on the extreme left. On the extreme right is Consul Bernardo and ATN Officer Rodel Tejada.

Representatives of the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu visited Filipino fishermen at Pier 17 on August 28 to donate basketballs and new long-sleeved shirts.

The PCG group representing Consul General Joselito A. Jimeno were Consul Roberto T. Bernardo, Rodel V. Tejada, ATN Officer, Severino B. Baliao and Felix V. De Leon, Jr.

Aside from turning over the donations, the PCG also joined the Filipino fishermen in fellowship singing and dinner at the pier, provided by the Seafarer’s Ministry led by Pastor Jerry Saludez.

Foreign fishermen based in Hawaii cannot go out of the piers due to federal restrictions on their work permits. In order to leave the pier for medical, or other purposes, they must first pay a “parole fee” of $65.

The fishermen typically spend 20 days at sea catching tuna fish, marlin and swordfish for the Hawaii market. The Filipino fishermen requested for basketballs and a half-court so they can have wholesome physical activity while at port waiting for the next fishing trip.

During the open forum just before dinner, the Filipino fishermen said that the long line fishing industry is tough work, but the pay is good as well as the working condition.

At the height of Hurricane Lane, the fishermen said they were moved inland to various safe places, with their employers or fishing vessel owners. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ordered the vessel owners to move the fishermen from the docks to safety on land and the vessels to safe harbors.

Last February 2018, Consul General Jimeno made representations with the CBP and various state and federal officials to improve the situation of the fishermen. The agencies have responded positively to the appeal of PCG Honolulu but they said the matter of issuing the appropriate visas to the fishermen would have to be addressed at the federal level. END

 

Consul Bernardo addressing the Filipino fishermen at Pier 17 Honolulu, on 28 August 2018.

Group photo of fishermen with PCG’s Severino Baliao, Consul Bernardo, Felix De Leon and Rodel Tejada. Photo courtesy of Pastor Jerry Saludez.


Filipino fishermen playing basketball during their port breaks. Photo courtesy of Pastor Jerry Saludez.