Agri chief: Intensified illegal fishing drive like gov’t’s war on drugs
Aside from the war against illegal drugs, the government is also waging an intensified campaign against illegal fishing in the country’s seas.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this in the sidelines of Tuesday’s (July 24) Philippine Agriculturist Association’s 6th National Congress and 2018 National Agriculturist Summit at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
Piñol was the keynote speaker of the annual event attended by an estimated 2,700 participants.
He described the intensified campaign against illegal fishing as similar to that of the government’s drug war.
He said that he had already issued a memorandum to the regional directors of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to step up the campaign against illegal fishing.
He also said that he had warned these regional directors to show results or they would be removed from their post.
“I already had an agreement with the regional directors from BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) that those who cannot stop illegal fishing in their regions should give way to those capable of stopping it,” he said.
Piñol said that since their campaign started four regional directors, whom he refused to name, had already been relieved from their posts.
He also cited positive developments in the campaign as he claimed of lesser incidents of illegal fishing in the country’s seawaters.
He said this was achieved with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard and the two new BFAR vessels – BRP Lapu-Lapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy.
According to an Inquirer report, Piñol said during the December commissioning of the two 50.5 foot Philippine made vessels for BFAR at the Sasa Wharf in Davao City that each vessel had cost P250 million and would be used in the fight against illegal fishing.
During yesterday’s press briefing, Piñol also said that a directive had already been given to the Philippine Coast Guard to particularly secure the Tañon Strait, and the surrounding seas in Cebu.
Aside from the illegal fishing drive, Piñol also said that he was hopeful that the proposed National Land Use bill would be passed in Congress especially since President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Senate to pass the bill during his State of the Nation Address on Monday (July 23).
The National Land Use Bill is a bill pending legislation, imposing a policy on national land use.
“That law will define everything,” said Piñol.
He said local government units have the prerogative with local lands, with the absence of a nationwide land use policy.
“Even if I want to preserve the agricultural lands, we have to understand that the population is growing. Ang ato na concern lang is to make sure that lands which were developed by the government for agricultural purposes like irrigation (would be used for that purpose),” he said. / Zena V. Magto. USJ-R Journalism Intern
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