BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
Elizabeth Recio, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Philippine Labor Representative based in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, said the four fishermen, who are all in good health, left Taiwan on board China Airlines on August 20.
A certain Jun Reloj of Brgy. New Buswang, this town and Ernesto Sandoval allegedly recruited Raymar Villanueva, Nadie Fuerte, Rodel Toriano and Sammy Tabag to work in fishing boats in Taiwan.
They left the country on October 12, 2005, but their working papers were confiscated by their recruitment agency, Haisheng Human Resources Corporation Ltd.
Last August 16, Recio said they were planning to bring the four back to Taiwan, and then fly them to the Philippines after a certain Mr. Chen, manager of Pei Sheng Fishery Company, was directed to terminate their contracts on alleged unpaid salaries for 10 months, and physical maltreatment.
For his part, Aklan Cong. Florencio Miraflores also worked for securing the repatriation of the four fishermen from the custody of the Taiwan fishing company. The fishers’ families from Lezo, Aklan sought his assistance.
"We thank and are very grateful to Cong. Miraflores for facilitating our release. The boat captain made us to work under bad conditions 15 hours daily. The drinking water is rusty and the food offered to crew members were not enough for us," Toriano said upon his return.
He said their condition was in stark contrast to the special treatment the Taiwan fishermen enjoyed in the hands of the boat captain.
Toriano said a number of South Africans aboard their vessel in a fishing expedition to Argentina also suffered maltreatment in the hands of the Taiwanese ship captain.