By Angel De Mesa
SORSOGON CITY – Alyansa ng Maralita at Bosero ng Sorsogon Bay (ALMA Bosero) urges the local government of Juban to investigate Municipal Council member and Regulatory Fishery officer Russel Balesa and the head coast guard in Juban town who were allegedly the main perpetrators of abuse and violence against the fisherfolks in the community.
The petition filed by ALMA Bosero on the alleged strait condition of their livelihood in Sorsogon Bay was discussed during the Committee hearing yesterday, August 8, at Sorsosogon Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
It was last July 10 when this organization of the fisherfolks filed petition addressed to the City Governor and Vice Governor of Sorsogon City.
“At first, we were doing fine with our livelihood and we were free in gaining the water resources. However, on the second quarter of the year 2013, the situation changed. Authorities from Juban started to seize those fisher folks who used compressors until now”, said Noel Gepulle, coordinator of ALMA Bosero.
Last July 27, the progressive fishers’ group also staged a picket rally on the municipal office of Juban to address their sentiment on the alleged human rights violations committed by a certain Juban’s coast guard to some fishermen.
According to Mayor Antonio Alindugan of Juban, he will make an investigation regarding the matter.
Mayor Alindugan explained that those fishermen whom they seized were violating their city ordinance on prohibiting the usage of the breathing apparatus such as the compressor in fishing.
It is the general rule in the municipality to prohibit the use of compressor except if you are going to construct, operate or maintenance a fish sanctuary or fish pen provided with the license by the mayor.
It is a major requirement in Juban town to register the fishing apparatus in order to be used. The compressor can only be used by the registered user of the apparatus. Lastly,they are required to undergo a scuba diving training to be capable of doing the activity.
However aside from apprehensions, ALMA Bosero stated that coast guard of Juban also confiscates their motor boat, compressor, and other materials used in fishing. They were also asked to pay 2,500 pesos for each person caught, that will serve as a ransom in the confiscated things.
“We are hear to help and assist them in their grievances and fight for their rights. It is the government’s duty and responsibility to help them”, said Rey Hababag of Bayan Sorsogon.
Councilor Jonas Duran recommended to give an alternative livelihood program for the fisherfolks. The municipal council also decided to gather all local ordinances from different municipalities and come up with a unified fishery ordinance. (BaretangBikolnon.com)