By Pots de Leon
MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Foreign Affairs said it is verifying reports that 17 Filipino fishermen have been arrested and detained by Malaysian authorities for poaching in waters belonging to Sabah.
The DFA said information from its regional consular office in Palawan said the owner of the fishing boats Queen and Queen 4 reported that the vessels and their crew were seized in waters between Tawi-Tawi and Sandakan in Sabah.
The fishermen are reportedly detained in Sandakan.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose told a press briefing that the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, through the Office of the Police Attaché, has already sought confirmation from Malaysian authorities but has “yet to receive a response."
"Our embassy continues to gather more information about this incident and has expressed readiness to extend assistance to the fishermen," Jose said.