DOJ names Tañon Strait special prosecutor
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has appointed a special prosecutor to handle cases relating to abuses on Tañon Strait that lies between the islands of Negros and Cebu and is the largest marine protected area in the country.
Abuse cases will now be handled by Assistant State Prosecutor Karla Cabel.
Environmental lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, vice president of Oceana Philippines, welcomed Cabel’s appointment, saying that this will boost their campaign to preserve the beauty and bounty of the Tañon Strait that is under severe threat by illegal and destructive fishing, apart from climate change, waste mismanagement, habitat destruction and pollution.
“This is much needed. We need special power to go against those who have vested interests. Illegal fishing has been a threat to the livelihood of our small fisherfolks. This is a challenge to do our share before everything else collapses,” she said during the Coastal Law Enforcement Alliance in Region 7 meeting at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) on Thursday.
“We are serious in fighting illegal fishing. Convergence is the key. Let us work together,” Ramos added.
Under Republic Act 7586 otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, the DOJ must designate special prosecutors to prosecute violations of laws, rules and regulations in protected areas.
Today, Tañon Strait Park Superintendent Am Prospero Lendio is scheduled to file a complaint at the DOJ in Manila against a commercial fishing entity for violation of Republic Act 10654 which amends the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
Separate complaints will also be filed against two other commercial fishing companies in the coming days.
Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino, director of PRO-7, vowed to give his all-out support against all forms of illegal fishing.
“Now that we (police) are out in the campaign against illegal drugs, we join the fight against illegal fishing,” he said during the meeting on Thursday.
Espino urged all police stations, especially those in the coastal areas, to come up with significant accomplishments against illegal fishing.
“We will monitor the accomplishment of every police stations,” he said.
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