The Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) admitted recently they have a weak capacity to combat illegal fishing in the Calamian Islands primarily because they lack high-speed vessels to go after violators.
Maritime Police Brigadier General R’win Pagkalinawan, PNP Maritime Group Director said they only have two rubber boats, one deployed in Coron and the other in El Nido but this is not capable of high-speed pursuits.
He said that on various occasions, they had to borrow speedboats from resort establishment, even as they are concerned this “put at risk the security of those resorts.”
He added that the PNP-MG has only 11 personnel deployed stationed in the town of Coron, which he said is “insufficient”.
“Pagdating kasi na may taumbayan nagre-reklamo na nag-i-illegal logging doon, o nangingisda o nangunguha ng wildlife, pumupunta sa police station kaso ang mga police station personnel ay walang training. Ang itinuturo kami (PNP-MG), well, in fact, on their part as police, dapat ma-tap sila at masamahan lang ‘yong mga community na nagre-reklamo,” he said.
He said that in order to have additional support from the community, PNP-MG and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are training Marine Protected Area (MPA) guards and forest rangers to have a joint effort in their operations.
He added that one of the struggles they face is the preparation of affidavits whenever they apprehend violators. He added that other law enforcement agencies also would turn over the cases to them for documentation and prosecution.
“Gusto nila ay itu-turn over nila sa amin ‘yong evidence. Ang problema naman namin ay chain of custody kasi kung sila ang nakahuli, preserve nila ang evidence, pati tao huhulihin nila tapos mag-a-affidavit of arrest sila, itu-turn over nila sa amin at kami ang magpa-file ng case,” he said.
Pagkalinawan said that the solution he finds to this is for the maritime group to have their own high-speed boats. In addition, he said that they are waiting for 22 units of high-speed boats that will arrive on March 2020.