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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bantay Dagat/Kalikasan Task Force gets P2.5-M patrol boat

By Franklin P. Gumapon

LABASON, Zamboanga del Norte – To ward off attacks by lawless elements operating in the coastal towns of Zamboanga del Norte’s third district, a patrol boat has been turned-over recently to the Bantay Dagat/Kalikasan Task Force led by the 21st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (PA) based in the area.

Speaking during the patrol boat launching held at Barangay Osukan here, Col. Jesus Mananquil Jr., commanding officer of the 101st Infantry Brigade, PA, emphasized that the goal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) “is to promote peace and order in the whole of Mindanao.”

“With this patrol boat, the Bantay Dagat/Kalikasan Task Force which is composed of the army, police, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders, will now be able to run after illegal fishing, piracy, kidnapping, extortion and other forms criminalities perpetrated by the lawless groups in the province’s third district,” Mananquil said.

The P2.5-million patrol boat was acquired through the congressional office of Congressman Isagani S. Amatong, representative of the third district.

On behalf of Congressman Amatong, his chief of staff, Adrian A. Amatong said, “no single agency of the government can solve the problems of illegal fishing, piracy or extortion activities,” as these need collective efforts among government agencies.

For his part, Engr. Joseph Florig, assistant regional director of BFAR-9, expressed his gratitude to all agencies and organizations, which take part in protecting the seas and the marine resources saying “BFAR before acted alone and it was a lonely job.”

“Ang dagat problema kay daghan man ang tag-iya dili sama sa yuta nga kadtong lamang adunay titulo maoy manag-iya (The sea is a problem because a number own it, unlike the lands that only those with land titles owning them),” Florig explained.

The BFAR official also hoped that the involvement of the different agencies in the fight against illegal fishing would continue.

Moreover, Vice Governor Senen O. Angeles also said “the unified movement for Batay Dagat/Kalikasan is a very good move in the protection against piracy, terrorism, kidnapping and illegal fishing that would redound to the protection of our environment.”

Nine of the 13 municipalities of Zamboanga del Norte’s third district have coastal barangays facing the Sulu Sea that stretches up to Zamboanga City.