The Bureau of Immigration has detained 13 Vietnamese arrested by the Philippine National Police Maritime Group for fishing in Philippine waters.
Immigration commissioner Siegfred Mison said the Vietnamese fishermen were caught aboard a Malaysian-registered vessel near Barangay Mangsee in Balabac, Palawan.
Aside from entering Philippine territory without passing through Immigration, the Vietnamese fishermen were also fishing illegally. They have been charged with poaching, the bureau said. Under the Fisheries Act, it is "unlawful for any foreign person, corporation or entity to fish or operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters."
Foreign fishing vessels caught within Philippine territory are assumed to be engaged in fishing, and therefore, are assumed to be breaking the law.
The law allows the government to confiscate the catch, equipment, and fishing vessel. Poaching also carries a fine of from $50,000 to $200,000 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos.
The bureau said foreigners convicted of crimes shall be deported to their country of origin and banned from coming back to the Philippines.
They will also be placed under the bureau’s watchlist for violating the country’s immigration laws.