PHOTO from PCG
THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have identified the fishing grounds that fisherfolk from oil spill-hit Oriental Mindoro towns may use while clean-up operations are ongoing.
The agencies will soon issue a joint memorandum circular on the said sharing of fishing grounds, according to DILG.
“The DILG and BFAR will adopt a cluster approach to ensure that all affected fisherfolks will have a place to go and congestion in one fishing area will be avoided,” DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said in a statement Thursday.
The move comes after a recent dialogue between the affected local government units (LGUs) and relevant government agencies amid the contamination caused by the sinking of MT Princess Empress off Naujan in Oriental Mindoro in February.
Following the meeting, Abalos recommended to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. the sharing of the fishing area.
Affected municipalities of San Teodoro and Baco may do their fishing activities in the municipal waters of Paluan and Abra De Ilog in Occidental Mindoro.
Tayabas Bay and Mindoro Strait are also being proposed as alternative sites for the two.
Meanwhile, Calapan City, Naujan, and Pola may do their fishing activities in the municipal waters of Boac, Gasan in Marinduque, as well as Tayabas Bay.
Fisherfolk from Pinamalayan, Gloria, and Bansud can fish at the municipal waters of Concepcion in Romblon and a portion of Mindoro Strait.
The last cluster, which includes the affected fisherfolk of Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, and Bulalacao, can go fishing in Tablas Strait and the municipal waters of San Jose and Magsaysay in Occidental Mindoro.
However, the duration of fishing ground sharing is still uncertain, Abalos said.
“As soon as the fish samples are okay and there is no more contamination of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the affected areas of Oriental Mindoro, the fisherfolks can already do their fishing activities in their own territorial waters,” he said.
Aside from identifying alternative fishing grounds, the DILG will also review existing related policies on the management of municipal waters.
The Department of Labor and Employment is also urged to expand the coverage of their Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in Oriental Mindoro to provide those affected alternative livelihood until the situation normalizes. (PNA)