The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has proposed to buy at least two patrol helicopters with night flying capability and about 20 long distance flying drones to intensify the government's campaign against illegal fishing and poaching by foreign fishing boats.
The Management Committee (MANCOM) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) made the recommendation on Tuesday after reports of continued poaching by foreign fishing vessels were received and verified.
The BFAR reported that the country loses at least $30-B every year to foreign poachers who could not be checked and stopped because the Philippine Government lacks the capability of patrolling the vast fishing grounds of the country.
Currently, the BFAR only relies on reports by local fishermen and its ability to respond is impeded by its lack of sea and air assets.
The proposal to acquire helicopters and drones, including fast boats, has been included in the budget of the DAF for 2018 and was already presented to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
During the same MANCOM meeting on Tuesday, measures to address local illegal fishing activities were also presented and adopted, including the listing of all mayors whose towns have failed to stop illegal fishing.
The BFAR directors were ordered to submit a listing of all municipalities and the names of the mayors which in turn will be submitted to President Rody Duterte.
The DAF will recommend the filing of administrative charges and even the suspension of mayors who have continuously ignored the directive of the President to stop illegal fishing in their areas.
#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #ProtectOurFishingGrounds!