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Bonding event to be held for Filipino fishermen in Yehliu

2018/02/09 20:38:08

Many Journey's, One Family promotional canvas fixed outside Saint Christopher's Church in Taipei on Friday.

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) "Many Journeys, One Family," an event to spread awareness of the situation and needs of Filipino and other migrant worker fishermen is to be held during the Lunar New Year holiday in New Taipei's Yehliu, the event's organizers announced Friday.

The Migrant Workers' Concern Desk (MWCD) is the organizer of the event, which is to be held Feb. 17 at the Wanli Fishing Port Activity Center in Yehliu, New Taipei.

Migrant Workers' Concern Desk (MWCD) at Saint Christopher's Church in Taipei

MWCD staffer Leoni Pascual Ngo said that "the purpose is to meet with the fishermen because they are the most vulnerable," adding that the main purpose is to hear from them what are their most pressing needs.

"We are trying to assist the fishermen in different ports, so we went around from Keelung to Yilan and asked them about their needs," said Ngo, adding that they started the operation in November last year.

"We know that the only time they will be free is during the Lunar New Year," said Ngo, adding that "people from Taipei will be going there to meet with the fishermen."

"We are trying to solicit some gifts that we can distribute to the fishermen," said Ngo, adding that they have been receiving donations from churches and local people.

Ngo explained that fishermen are the most vulnerable migrant workers because the vessels aboard which they work on are also their living spaces," adding that "some brokerages take advantage of them and deduct money for food and accommodation when in fact they (migrant fishermen) live aboard the boats upon which they work."

During the event, the fishermen will also be informed of their rights, Ngo added.

"May Peace Prevail On Earth" post at St. Christopher's Church in Taipei

Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet, Saint Christoper's Church assistant parish priest and chaplain to Vietnamese migrants, elaborated that in October 2017, there was an Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) World Congress held in Kaohsiung that was focused on how to help the fishermen.

While many things were discussed, one of the main points was "how to improve the lives of the fishermen especially in the fishing ports where their boats are based," said Thiet.

The discussions threw up many problems, such as bad living conditions and unfair wage deductions, said Thiet.

Father Gioan Tran Van Thiet (left) and Leoni Pascual Ngo

"We had a case last time in which five fishermen came here seeking shelter because there was trouble in their fishing port," said Ngo, adding that they forwarded the case, which was related to alleged unfair wage deductions, to the Bureau of Labor in New Taipei for investigation.

According to Ministry of Labor statistics there were approximately 12,300 migrant workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and animal husbandry sectors as of the end of 2017.

(By William Yen)