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Sea protectors seek reconsideration

| by: Cris Lanie Delos Reyes

The Cebu Provincial Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) supports Bantay Dagat volunteers who are facing a legal battle for slight illegal detention filed by two boat captains of a commercial fishing boat.

The volunteers from Daanbantayan, who are members of  “Migo sa Iho” organization, filed a motion for reconsideration at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office last February 3.

On August 26, 2015, a joint seaborne operation was conducted in Kinatarcan Island by volunteers of San Remigio and Daanbantayan to check on the fishing operations of two commercial boats within municipal waters.

Volunteers intercepted two commercial fishing boats for fishing in municipal waters which is off limits to commercial fishing.  The volunteers observed that the commercial fishing boats used a Danish seine method of fishing or hulbot-hulbot, which is totally banned in Philippine waters under Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 264.

The crewof A.C. and J.S.V. boats and the boat captains were brought to Santa Fe port then to Santa Fe police station.

The operation happened last August 26, 2015 at 11 in the morning and complainants arrived at Santa Fe Police Station roughly around six (6) in the evening.

On the next day, after the operation, boat captains DonatoVillaceran and Rogelio Forrosuelo, filed a complaint for piracy, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention. However, the prosecutor’s office dismissed the charges and instead resolved it for slight illegal detention.

The volunteer’s lawyer, Atty. Mary Joan Dulhao said that they can clearly justify that during the six hour period, there was in fact no detention.

Dulhao explained that the six-hour period from the arrest to the Santa Fe police station is justifiable for a seaborne operation.

It is also stated in the motion for reconsideration that the fishing boats were piloted by their own crew while sailing towards the Port of Santa Fe and that the speed of the travel was dependent on the crew of the fishing boats.

Meanwhile, CPAIFTF’s operation officer Mar Go said they are careful and accurate in their operations to avoid circumstances like what happened to the bantay dagat volunteers.

“If we apprehend, there must be proper grounds in accordance with the law. Upon arrest, we should immediately file a case or immediately submitthe report to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Adjudication Board (FARAB) for immediate disposition,” Go added.

Environmental protection is one of the priorities of Governor Hilario P. Davide III’s administration and is in fact part of his six key agenda.