MASBATE CITY, 2/20/17—Masbate Governor Antonio T. Kho led the newly formed “Oplan Sagip Karagatan” (Oplan save the seas), composed of various government agencies and law enforcement units, to put an end to illegal fishing in the island-province.
“This is a concerted effort that will involve the police station commander, maritime police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Prosecutor’s Office, Masbate Advocates for Peace (MAP) and others concerned,” he said in an interview today.
Kho said he has met with the heads of the said agencies and the chiefs of police to bring to their attention his plans to curb illegal fishing in the province.
Vowing to give stiffer penalties for those who will be caught and increasing the reward for the apprehending teams, he urged the agencies to “seriously get involved” in curbing illegal fishing.
Judge Igmedio Camposano, MAP president, in a separate interview, said, however, the funds allotted for the campaign to stop illegal fishing could go “down the drain” as the cases against the illegal fishing boats who are apprehended often end up being dismissed.
It is common knowledge in the province that illegal fishing operators often bribe the apprehending authorities in exchange for the release of their boats.
Kho said he believes this happens because the reward money given to the apprehending team is “very small” and “seems so insignificant.” (by Norman Tamar, PNA)