Tolentino blasts Marina for difficult process of issuing fishing permit
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities reportedly confiscate the catch of fishers who failed to secure a proper permit, a fisher revealed on Thursday.
Michael An, a fisherman in Zambales, made the revelation during the hearing of the Senate’s Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones.
This revelation angered Senator Francis Tolentino, who also said he received a petition signed by “more than 70 fishermen” in Zambales, who complained of the difficult process in obtaining fishing permits from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
Marina has no satellite office in Zambales, compelling fishermen to secure permits and certificates in their central office in Manila, according to Tolentino.
“Ang daming mangingisda na nangangailangan ng inyong tulong. Ang lumalabas, napakarami niyong requirements, balik-balik sa Maynila, ubos na ‘yung anim na toneladang tambakol na kinita nila tapos ang requirements ang dami ang tagal ng proceso, ang tagal pa ng pag-release,” Tolentino, who heads the special committee, said.
(So many fishermen need your help. But it was learned that you have so many requirements, fishers go to Manila to and fro, their earnings from their catch already run out due to the long process and the release.)
“Tapos pag di pa na-release ang certificate huhulihin pa sila. Hindi na sila makakapangisda, gutom ‘yung pamilya, wala tayong isda sa palengke,” he added.
(Then if their certificate was not released, they will be apprehended. Fisherfolks could not fish, their families hungry, then fish would not be available in the market.)
“May problema tayo sa food security. Nag-aangkat pa tayo ng isda … kayo naman, pinapahirapan ninyo ang mga mangingisda na makakuha ng permit,” he added.
(We have a food security problem. We are importing fish, then here you are, making the fisherfolk lives harder by the hard process of permit.)
Tolentino then asked An if authorities confiscate the catch of fishers without permit.
“Totoo ba na kinukumpiska pa ang mga isda na hinuli niyo?” Tolentino asked.
(Is it true that your catch has been confiscated?)
“Meron po kaming nabalitaang bangka,” An, one of the 11 fishermen who survived the fatal maritime collision in the West Philippine Sea on October 2, responded.
(We have heard of such cases from other boats.)
However, Marina denied the allegations.
“If that allegation specifically pertains to Marina, we specifically and categorically deny. If there is a specific complaint against any Marina personnel, kindly refer us to them and we will investigate and we will impose necessary penalty, if, necessary,” Marina Enforcement Service Officer Benedicto Manlapaz told senators.
Manlapaz also noted that Marina authorities “very seldom” go on the ground unlike those from “regulatory agencies” he refused to specify.
Moving forward, Manlapaz vowed to work closely with the fishermen.
Tolentino also told Marina to address the “root cause” of the matter, which is the difficulty of obtaining a permit.
“Marina, take note of that and address the root cause of this, [which are] the inability of securing a certificate, because you do not have a field office in Zambales or Subic or in areas where fishermen thrive,” the senator said.