Mayor admits illegal fishing persists
There is no way illegal fishing will totally be stopped. In fact, for Carles Mayor Felipe Bernal, reality may bite yet he admits, the problem persists and to date, it is still happening off Iloilo waters.
Such was the statement made by the Mayor in response to latest reports 'blaming' him for the resurgence of illegal fishing operations in Northern Iloilo. With the mayor's critics openly charging him for either being too weak in the illegal fishing drive or a supporter of illegal fishers, the Carles mayor shrugged off the 'attacks.'
Yes, there is illegal fishing, he said in a Bombo Radyo interview, but no, he does not condone it. What his administration has done, he explained, is to empower further the Bantay Dagat team of the town.
The perennial problem, Mayor Bernal added, lies on the extensive sea water and open expanse of the fishing ground. So as a reality check, said Carles Mayor advised that it should be accepted that like cattle-rustling in the mountains, there is illegal fishing at sea.
As for continued attacks of critics, Mayor Bernal said it is all political harassment. This, as he went on to chide Governor Niel Tupas for giving credence to what Bernal said were wild talks passed on as intelligence reports.
Late last week, Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) director Senior Supt. Napoleon Coronel relieved Chief Insp. Noel Lamsis, chief of police of Carles town, after receiving reports that the latter was protecting some illegal fishers.
Coronel said other police chiefs in Northern Iloilo's coastal towns are also being monitored.
Meantime, Maritime and Coast Guard officials are on the watch for the on and off operations of 'pirates.'
The News Today (TNT) learned from sources that serious watch was ordered in municipal waters within Iloilo's Northern Iloilo coastal towns. "Pirates" were known to have attacked fishermen at the break of dawn and makes easy escape with their fast-crafts and heavy firepower.