(File photo)

The 2nd Special Operations Unit- Maritime Group (SOU-MG) in Palawan recorded 183 illegal fishing apprehensions from January to the present.

During the Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran (UP UP) program of the Tactical Operations Wing West (TOW West) on Friday, July 2, 2nd SOU-MG duty officer P/Cpt. Dandy Ferriol said that most of their unit’s apprehensions were about violations of Republic Act 10654 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, local fisheries ordinances, and Presidential Decree 705 of the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

According to the information given, the 2nd SOU-MG has arrested 183 people for illegal fishing and 23 for unlawful logging since January.

“Mas mabuti na i-avoid ang matataas na gross tonnage na bangka doon sa municipal waters. Kapag nakapasok po ang 3.1 tonnage pataas na mga bangka ay nalulugi at nababaswasan ang resouces na nakukuha ng mga maliliit na bangka natin. Dapat doon sila mangisda sa malayo, beyond 12 kilometers from the shoreline,” he said.

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“Pangalawa ito sa mataas na apprehension. Ang ginagawa dyan ay tinu-turn over sa Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at pinapa-file po natin ng complaints,” Ferriol said.

Aside from the apprehensions, Ferriol said they are also offering livelihood interventions to apprehended fishermen.

He said that they have started a program on TESDA courses, which has already been availed by 30 fishermen. The courses include tile setting, baking, and welding.

“Upon conducting ng apprehension ay may mga intervention tayo d’yan sa mga arrested fishermen or illegal loggers. Ang ginagawa natin ay sino-sort natin ang pangalan then binibigyan natin sila ng program kung saan puwede natin sila ipasok doon sa TESDA para in the meantime na wala silang mapasukan lalo na ngayong pandemic na limited ang galaw ng mga tao,” Ferriol said.

He believes that intervention helps in providing alternative revenue for fishermen, as well as unlocking their skills.

“Para ilihis din nila ang kanilang illegal na gawan doon sa  mas maganda na kabuhayan. Para makita nila na hindi lang sila nire-restrict doon sa illegal na gawain nila but also binibigyan natin sila ng pwede nilang maging kabuhayan or skills na pwede nilang magamit. At the same time ay para hindi rin sila pagsamantalahan ng mga makakaliwa na pwedeng magamit sa kanila,” he added.

Ferriol said that any concern regarding the livelihood assistance, or if there any illegal activities, the public may report them on their official Facebook account Pangalawang SOU-MG or call their hotline numbers 0917-877-4838 and 0951-318-1830.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.