Politiko wants fishing area extended in Davao City’s shoreline
A city councilor appealed to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to allow the city’s fisherfolk to fish up to 20 kilometers from Davao’s shoreline to increase their production.
On Tuesday’s City Council regular session, Councilor Conrado Baluran passed a resolution asking BFAR to increase the fishing grounds to help the fisherfolk and improve their present economic situation.
“If we continue not to listen to the battlecry of our municipal fishermen, then it is not possible that one day, we only have to realize that we have been deprived of the very jewels right before our eyes,” Baluran said.
Based on the latest report by the National Statistical Coordination Board, Baluran said the poverty incidence of the fisherfolk in coastal towns including Davao City is at 41.1 percent or an average earning of P178 a day.
“We are moved by the recent survey that says ‘Filipino fisherfolk, among the poorest in the country’. It is with a heavy heart to ponder that in spite of our abundant marine resources our fishermen remain to be the underprivileged regardless their significant contribution to our economy,” he said.
He said Republic Act No. 8550 as amended by Republic Act No 10654 Section 4 No. 64-66 otherwise known as Fisheries Code of the Philippines states in part that small fisherfolk are only allowed to catch fish within the boundaries of Municipal Waters which is 15 kilometer from the shoreline.
“The declining number of fish catch within the municipal waters over the years have adversely affected our fisherfolk who are left below the poverty line, which oftentimes resulted in drastic measures such as sailing farther beyond the law provides,” he said.
But, Baluran said the biggest problem of fishers was the encroachment and illegal intrusion of those commercial fishing vessels in the municipal waters.
“Oftentimes, these problems remain to be unresolved,” he said. He said that out of desperation the fisherfolk go beyond the allowable fishing grounds to catch fish just enough to sustain their family daily needs.
“Worst scenarios, many of them were apprehended by BFAR and were given board letter for the corresponding penalty,” he said.
“I am aware of the Latin maxim Dura Lex Sed Lex” which mean the law is harsh but it is the law. But I am appealing out of compassion and mercy to our concerned agencies to look into this primordial concern,” he said.
(Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA)