MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has deported two minors who were arrested with 9 other Chinese fishermen off the coast of Palawan on May 6.
The Bureau of Immigration said in a statement that the two minors were deported back to Beijing, China, via Philippine Airlines flight PR 382 on Tuesday night, May 13.
In a two-page summary deportation order, Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said the minors had been placed in the Philippine immigration blacklist for poaching and illegal entry in Philippine territory.
On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the government would release the minors as provided under Republic Act 7610 or the "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” which shields minors from prosecution, after medical authorities verified their age.
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Chinese fishermen charged
The 9 other Chinese fishermen will remain at the Palawan provincial jail to face charges for violating the Philippine Wildlife Act and the Philippine Fisheries Code. (READ: Chinese fishers face charges for crime in PH)
The fishermen had rejected the Philippines' offer to be represented by a public attorney during the hearing.
The boat captain was identified as Chen Yi Quan and the chief engineer, Chen Ze Hao. The other crewmembers are Shi Xian Xiong, Shi Liang Duong, He Chuan, Huang Ji Xuan, He Sheng Bao, He Yuan Cheng, and Lu Chuan Fang were part of the crew.
The Palawan court set their bail at P30,000 each for poaching and P40,000 for taking endangered species.
While the BI has a pending request before the Palawan court to turn over the 9 accused to the bureau once they have posted bail, the BI cannot deport them unless the court resolves their criminal cases.
The 9 Chinese fishermen will also be blacklisted and banned from entering the Philippines, once deported.
The Chinese fishing boat, intercepted at Hasa-Hasa Shoal, was found with over 500 dead and live turtles, frozen turtle meat, and turtle shells. Five Filipino fishermen manning another boat, believed to be working for the Chinese fishermen, were also arrested.