MALACAÑANG said Sunday that the government is ready to assist Filipino fishermen who were reported to have been detained by Eritrean authorities after they ventured in Eritrean waters from Saudi Arabia.
In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Department of Foreign Affairs is still verifying the incident and has not received official information from the ground.
"Patuloy ang isinasagawang beripikasyon ng ating pamahalaan sa nasabing ulat. Ayon sa DFA, habang naghahanda tayo para sa panayam na ito, wala pa silang natatanggap na opisyal na impormasyon mula sa ating embahada sa Riyadh hinggil sa nasabing insidente bagama't naiulat na ito ng mga wire services," Coloma said.
"Gayunpaman, nakahanda ang ating embahada na bigyan ng kaukulang tulong ang mga Pilipinong nangangailangan ng tulong dyan sa mga ganyang sitwasyon," he added.
Media reports said nine Filipino fishermen were arrested by the Eritrean coast guard for fishing in its territorial waters.
The nine Filipinos from Saudi are now in the custody of Eritrean officials, according to ABS-CBN News Channel.
The country's vice consul stationed in Jeddah confirmed that the nine fishermen have crossed the boundary of the North African state.
The report also said that the Philippine Embassy in Cairo will coordinate with the Eritrean government for the immediate release of the Filipino fishermen in the report. (SDR/Sunnex)