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Fishery sector brings BBL concerns to Sen. Villar


Senator Cynthia Villar yesterday asked the fishing sector to submit its position paper to the BBL consultative panel seeking to retain the 15-kilometer radius municipal waters from the main coast line in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Villar, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture in the Senate, was here for the BBL public consultation held yesterday afternoon at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College in barangay Baliwasan.

Villar separately met with the leaders of the Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association (SOPHIL) to discuss the fishing sector's concerns in relation to the new version of the BBL.

“You can submit your position paper so that we will have a basis to study it,” Vilar told the fishery sector led by SOPHIL.

SOPHIL Executive Vice President Roberto Baylosis said, they will now prepare the draft of their position paper asking the BBL consultative panel to maintain a status quo on the 15-km. municipal waters from the present BBL draft which further puts the fishing water margin to 22.224 kilometers.

“If the 22.224 kilometer will be realized, then all of the commercial fishing will be affected because there are no more fish in this area. Ang tamban based from scientific studies and per our observation, only stays within seven to eight kilometer. So what are we going to supply the canning factories kasi wala ng tamban doon sa 22 kilometers,” Baylosis explained.

He also said that the implementation of the closed fishing season which started seven years ago has benefited the small time fishermen.

“While we are on a break, the small time fishermen continues to harvest the fishes inside the 15-km radius. The closed fishing season calls for the multiplication of the tamban population and the small time fishermen are still there reaping the benefits of the fishing ban,” Baylosis said.

He said that these are just some of the reasons why they are strongly lobbying for the retention of the 15-kilometer radius municipal waters instead of expanding it to 22 kilometers.   (Elinor Fernandez)

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