The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned 20 local government units (LGUs) on Friday, Aug. 27, for the possible commission of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) activities in the municipal waters of their respective jurisdictions.
In a briefing on fisheries management in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), DILG Assistant Secretary Odilon Pasaraba said that the department has coordinated with environmental non-profit group Oceania Philippines to call the attention of the concerned LGUs which have “high light detection” based on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).
“These detection possibly indicate encroachment of commercial vessels in the municipal waters,’’ Pasaraba said.
Pasaraba confirmed having communicated with the “hotspot’’ LGUs to inculcate in them their responsibilities in the management of the municipal waters while encouraging them to get the support of the national government and non-government organizations (NGOs).
To overcome the extreme challenges in managing the municipal water, Pasaraba noted the enhanced monitoring of LGUs’ compliance with the streamlining of the Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA) tools and indicators “to focus on essential institutional arrangements within the local government to effectively manage the municipal waters.’’
“In the Manila Bay Region (34 LGUs), a validation process is used to thoroughly assess the LGUs’ management of municipal waters as contribution to Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts,’’ the DILG official said.
Pasaraba emphasized that the guidelines implore the LGUs to monitor fishery activity policy within their territories as the localities are directed to support the implementation of fishery management area (FMA) and the memorandum circular for the audit tool specifically developed to monitor their management of municipal waters.
As stated in Republic Act (RA) 8550 as amended by RA10654, Pasaraba noted that cities and municipalities “shall have jurisdiction to manage, conserve and develop all fishery resources and enforce laws, rules and regulations through ordinances and enabling policies.’’
“The DILG supports the local government units in fulfilling these said responsibilities through issuance of guidelines that focus on localizing and providing for their details, all the functions under national laws and policies,’’ Pasaraba said.
He noted that the management of municipal waters is vital in food security and ensuring the livelihood of skilled fishers and sustainable use of resources for the succeeding generations.
“Since these waters are within the jurisdictions of the LGUs they have a primary role to play alongside national government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Maritime and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG),” Pasaraba said.
The DILG official emphasized that the management of municipal waters is vital in food security and ensuring the livelihood of skilled fishers and sustainable use of resources for the succeeding generations.