Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Josef Alvarez has filed a House Bill seeking to expand the boundary of the municipal waters from 15 kilometers from the shoreline to 25 kilometers.
Alvarez’ House Bill No. 9217 seeks to add a 10 kilometer “buffer zone” beyond the existing municipal waters as presently defined under RA 10654 or the Fisheries Code and also under the Local Government Code.
The measure, according to Alvarez, is intended to protect local fishermen from poaching by commercial fishers entering in municipal waters.
“Sobrang dehado na ang mga marginal fisherfolks natin lalo dito sa Palawan. Dehadong-dehado na sa mga galing labas tapos inaagawan pa ng huli sa loob ng municipal waters,” Alvarez said.
“At least ang malalaking banka ay maraming pahinante. Kaya nila ang malayuan at matagalang biyahe. Mayayaman din ang mga kapitalista nila minsan nga may gawaan pa ng sardinas ang financier,” he added.
In his bill, Alvarez stated that the closure of tourism establishments brought a number of displaced workers, some of whom transitioned into farming or fishing to generate income.
“This bill seeks to tilt balance of disadvantage in favor of people dependent on municipal waters for fishing,” Alvarez said in his bill.
Earlier, the provincial board adopted a resolution opposing the House Bill No. 7853 expanding the operations of small and medium commercial fishing vessels inside municipal waters.