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Playing Cat and Mouse at Pamilacan Island, Baclayon
« on: July 13, 2008, 12:33:28 AM »
By Rey Anthony Chiu
PIA

  Have commercial fishers finally left the waters of Pamilacan island for good in fear of a spreading maritime law enforcement dragnet or are they merely playing cats and mouse with enforcers? 

  On exactly the same days when Baclayon local officials had to relent due to repairs for their pumpboat, illegal fishers had the time of their life casting nets at the barangay marine sanctuary on the evening of June 23.

  How they came to know about the incapacity of the local enforcers is still a thing of wonder though.

  A text message, this time sent by an informant in Pamilacan last June 23 at about 8:29 PM said, “Sir, gud eve, dia na pud tawon manaktak ari duol sa sanctuary ang mga way batasan.”

  He was advised to positively get the names or identify the perpetrators and report the matter to any barangay official. Moreover he had the explicit instruction to file a police blotter on the incident.

  When the same text message was forwarded to Mayor Uy, he responded that they could not respond because their pumpboat was in repair. He assured however that “we are doing everything for our seas.

  This as Capitol Administrator Tomas Abapo, at the weekly Governor’s Reports Friday June 27, said fishing at Pamilacan and Baclayon seas has “returned to normal”. 

  By that, he means that marginal fishermen from the island and nearby towns sharing the municipal waters can now venture into the territory, which was once ruled by commercial fishers. 

  According to him, the return to normalcy happened after Governor Erico Aumentado pressed the provincial police brass to do everything to curb illegal activities in the area.

  Complaints have surfaced in Bohol papers about the seeming disappearance of dolphin and whales in the seas of Pamilacan. 

  Tourism stakeholders ascribe to the presence of big-time commercial fishers in the area as a major which has scared dolphins away.

  As a reaction to the complaints, radio programs and citizens jammed the air lanes to jointly call on authorities for action. On the other hand, the renewed interest has boosted Baclayon local government’s efforts at activating and deputizing its own fish warden group against the bigtime fishers straying into the territories set for marginal fishers. 

  Meanwhile, Abapo said the governor also met with Baclayon officials under Mayor Alvin Uy, Vice mayor Elena Uy, local police commander and Bohol Environment Management Office head Renato Villaber last June 2. They discussed and gathered commitments to pursue illegal fishers and go tough on them. 

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