Enrique: ‘Illegal logging, fishing campaign failed’

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – “I must confess we have realized we are a failure in our campaign against illegal logging and fishing.”

    Thus said Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia to participants of the general assembly of the project coordinating committee on the Bataan Integrated Coastal Management Program on Wednesday.

    Enrique said the provincial government even bought a brand new helicopter to assist in the massive drive against illegal logging and fishing. However, he admitted that they failed to totally stop the two environmental menaces.

    He said police have made many arrests and impounded carabaos used in illegal logging and fishing boats but violations still continued.

    Garcia announced for the first time that he is readying a proposal to shift the responsibility from the local government units to the national government particularly to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

    “Kailangan matakot ang mga perpetrators at kayang-kayang gawin ito ng AFP at PNP,” the governor said.

    He added that he would soon talk with the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of National Defense and the chiefs of the AFP and PNP about his proposal which can be applied not only in Bataan but in other parts of the country having the same problem on illegal logging and fishing.

    Garcia said they will still continue helping and supporting the drive to eradicate illegal activities in his province. However, the AFP and the PNP should be given the primary responsibility to go after illegal loggers and fishers.

    He said that time is running short and that it is very important to stop the illegal activities “to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

    Prof. Raphael Lotilla, executive director of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), said that aside from the aggressive campaign against illegal logging and fishing, government should also work hard for the stoppage of oil spills.

    “There is also a need to restore mangroves that cater to birds and serve as breeding grounds for fish, crabs and prawn,” the professor said. “Mangroves also protect the coastal communities from storm surges, tidal currents and typhoons.”


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