ORANI, Bataan – Bataan 1st district representative Geraldine B. Roman recently expressed support for a proposed separate government agency for fisheries during a recent dialogue with fisherfolk from the towns of Morong, Abucay, Samal, Orani, Hermosa and Dinalupihan at her district office’s Bulwagang Pangkabuhayan here. Municipal agriculturists from the said municipalities were also present during the meeting.
During the dialogue, Bantay Dagat or seaborne patrol personnel expressed their present plight as mere volunteers receiving only meager income or allowances from local government units’ (LGUs)support and assistance.
Bantay dagat serves as an informal coastal law enforcement unit that operates in partnership with the seaborne unit of the PNP and their respective LGUs guarding the seas for the preservation of marine life and other aquatic resources.
“I will review this honorarium scheme with the LGUs and I think their (the bantay dagat personnel) honorarium or allowances should come from BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources),” Roman said.
At present, BFAR is under the Department of Agriculture. Roman believes the fisherfolk’s welfare and demands should be addressed and solved properly if a separate government agency for them will be created. The said proposal is still pending at the House Committee on Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Roman said she will also extend legal assistance to some bantay dagat personnel facing charges in doing their duties.
Every second Friday of each month, congresswoman Roman extends legal assistance to her constituents by providing three lawyers handling different cases in all sectors.
Fishing using illegal means such as fine mesh nets, trawls, active gears and other unlawful sea activities were also discussed in accordance with the Republic Act 8550 or The Philippine Fisheries Act 0f 1998. Some reports said that most of the illegal means of fishing were being done by various commercial fishermen, some of them are even allegedly damaging the coral reefs.
Meanwhile, Roman also promised the fishpond operators, who were also present during the dialogue, that she will review some bank regulations in providing loans for them.