Majority of the members of Sangguniang Panlungsod have thumbed down a request made by residents of barangays Macarascas, Bahile, and Buenavista for the suspension of the city ordinance against the use of compressors.
This happened after councilor Elgin Robert Damasco submitted his report for the committee on fisheries and aquatic resources recommending the adoption of a resolution requesting the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to reconsider its memorandum circular prohibiting the use of compressors as fishing gear.
Cecilia Destacamento, a resident of Barangay Macarascas, had sent a letter to councilor Nesario Awat requesting permission to use a compressor from November to February in order to fix their baklad (fish corrals) in the three coastal villages.
Damasco noted that while the DILG prohibits compressors, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) does not.
He also said that Atty. Rhodel Magrata of the City Legal Office (CLO) said during a meeting of the aquatic resources committee that Puerto Princesa already has an ordinance against the use of compressors, which is based on a memorandum circular from DILG and is meant to protect the health and safety of fishermen.
“Although there is no national law prohibiting the use of compressors, the city of Puerto Princesa has an ordinance which was mandated by the Department of Interior and Local Government prohibiting their use for the sake of the health and safety of fishermen who use compressors as a fishing tool,” Damasco said quoting Magrata.
“Kung ang Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) ang tatanungin, wala silang problema. Wala naman raw batas na nagbabawal kaya naaprubahan ang ordinansa sa probinsya (Palawan) na ina-allow nila yun sa mga baklad. Kaya lamang, sa ating pananaliksik na ginawa, existing po yung Memorandum Circular No. 2002-129 enjoining the local chief executive, ang Sanggunian to enact local ordinances banning the use of compressor as apparatus in fishing,” he said
Citing the DILG MC and BFAR pronouncements, Damasco, who first authored a resolution to request the reconsideration of the compressor ban, claimed that he is uncertain as to which agency should be followed.
“So saan tayo susunod? Sa opinyon ng BFAR o sa kautusan ng DILG?” he asked.
Damasco then moved for the passage of a resolution to seek assistance from BFAR for the provision of materials to be used in the construction of a lambaklad instead for fishermen in the three barangays after the majority of councilors dissented, citing health concerns associated with the use of compressors.
“[Actually,] sa committee meeting ay inaprubahan ni Director (Emmanuel) Asis, ang kahilingan na mag-provide sila ng lambaklad sa grupo na yan ng mga mangingisda, for free,” he said.
Asis emphasized the distinction between the typical baklad, in which the poles are anchored to the bottom, and the lambaklad, which is a floating device, according to Damasco.
“Yung traditional baklad, dina-dive nila with the use of compressor para mahuli ang mga isda sa loob [while] ang floating baklad o ang lambaklad na tinatawag, hindi na kailangang gamitan ng compressor para makuha mo ang mga huli,” he explained.
*** Jazzuri Thea Guzman, a senior high school student at Puerto Princesa City National Science High School, is a media intern at Palawan News under the Humanities and Social Sciences Work Immersion Program.