Pilar fisherfolk seek guv’s help

By Joel E. Capundan

ROXAS CITY – Fisherfolk in Pilar, Capiz have sought the help of Gov. Victor Tanco Sr. after their fishing boats were seized in Pilar Bay by the town’s Bantay Dagat personnel.

Roberto Tenorio, 70, of Casanayan village, said they need food as they lost their livelihood after they were barred from fishing.

He said he has four family members whose livelihood are fishing. His

grandchildren lack food and no longer eat breakfast so they can have food for lunch.

For dinner, they eat boiled bananas and rootcrops, he added.

Tenorio said he hopes the governor will fulfill his promise in a radio interview to create a fact-finding committee to look into their problems and find a solution within a month.

Former village councilman Adelio Bordo said that his fishing vessel, registered in the name of Rosalinda Bordo, was apprehended by Bantay Dagat for failure of the crew to present a mayor’s permit but he said they have complied with the necessary documents.

Bordo alleged the Bantay Dagat seized their fishing boat because his family did not support Pilar Mayor Rita Lyn Patricio in the last elections.

Patricio, however, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

A document furnished to The News Today showed that four village chiefs –

Marie Poblador of Casanayan, Rolando Bayanban of Binaobawan, Emmanuel Abelita of Balogo and Leonides Martires of Rosario – sent a letter to Patricio, asking the mayor for a list of the composition of Bantay Dagat personnel in Pilar.

The four village chiefs alleged that numerous marginal fishermen are being terrorized by the Bantay Dagat members, warning them that their fishing vessels will be apprehended if they will not vote for administration candidates.

These Bantay Dagat personnel claim to be deputized agents of a person in authority of the local government unit and are armed with high-powered guns. They are wearing fatigue uniforms without any name plates, they said.

The village heads added that worse, the lack of courtesy and technical background of the Bantay Dagay personnel are very apparent.

A Bantay Dagat must be a member of either the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Agriculture, or must be a responsible barangay official, they said.

The letter was furnished to the Office of the President, secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources, 1st District Rep. Antonio del Rosario, among others.*