CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered the provincial police to stop the rampant dynamite fishing and other forms of illegal fishing in the island to preserve and enhance its natural beauty.

Garcia directed provincial police director Sr. Supt. Erson Digal to deploy more security personnel in the island to protect the waters as well as the tourists. Acting on the governor’s directive, Digal said he will immediately deploy a team of seven to eight policemen coming from the provincial headquarters.

Digal said starting on Tuesday the additional personnel will augment the three policemen currently assigned in the island.

Logon barangay captain Rex Novabos promised to provide accommodation to the security personnel in the island.

According to Garcia, the security personnel will serve as the tourist cops. She plans to terminate the services of the five blue guards hired by the provincial government to secure the area as soon as the augmentation force arrives in Malapascua Island.

She said that the blue guards are not needed anymore because there are no more illegal structures within the easement zone. She asked the members of the business association of Malapascua to promise not to build illegal structures that are within the easement zone.

To address the rampant illegal fishing in the area, the police requested the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to assign more fish examiners in the area because their technical support is very much needed in the filing of cases.

BFAR committed to train more fish examiners to be deployed in areas vulnerable to illegal fishing. BFAR also committed to train Bantay Dagat members to become fish wardens themselves. Around 20 fish wardens will be added to enforce the law.

The governor met with the stakeholders in Malapascua yesterday to discuss the problems in the island. Garcia said that they are taking the issues in Malapascua in a priority based system and the main concern is to stop the illegal fishing happening in the area.

“Police the water and secure the area from all of these illegal fishing,” Garcia said.

Garcia said she is seeking the help of local officials in order to organize the fisher folks and to amend some of their ordinances. “Help them (fisher folks) to have a stake in the business that is going on”, Garcia said pointing out the diving business that collects diving fees going on in the island in which locals do not get any share.

Garcia added that when these fisher folks have a share in the business, they will have a reason to protect the business.

Garcia signed, during the meeting, a budget allocation for a circumferential road and a Malapascua port. The province has earmarked P9 million for the two projects.

source PhilStar


Editorial Note: Between Senator Dick Gordon, Governor Garcia, and Joel Uichico, I am again pleased that rather than just an outright careless ban on fishing, all the aforementioned understand and lobby for a plan that provides for displaced fisherfolk.

Like they now do for the Lembeh Straits in Indonesia, perhaps a Malapascua pin or patch be given to those that pay dive permit fees and the increased fees go to pay fisherfolk to not fish. Fisherfolk can also be involved in the manufacturer or distribution of these items.

Financially stable divers can't just lobby for and support a ban that makes it illegal for provincial fisherfolk to provide for their families, they must be given a viable alternative or hunger will prevail over unenforced paper prohibitions.