Three Local Government Units have joined forces for a more comprehensive implementation of Republic Act 8550, also known as the Philippine Fisheries Code. This partnership was further cemented through the signing of a Joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by its Local Chief Executives last February 10, 2012 at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session Hall of Catbalogan City.

By so doing, the involved mayors namely Hon. Coefredo T. Uy of Catbalogan City, Hon. Emelly Olaje of Tarangnan and Hon. Lucia Astorga of the Island of Daram have agreed to have better coordination in managing and protecting their waters, particularly in conducting joint seaborne patrol operations. Duties agreed upon by the involved parties include strengthening the Fishery Law Enforcement Team (FLET), sustaining initiatives undertaken by City, Municipal and Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Councils and appropriating funds for Public Private Partnerships that promote suitable technology and alternative livelihood for fisherfolks.

The joint agreement is expected to bear a deeper impact on the three LGUs as it is meant to go beyond law enforcement and implementation. The joint MOA also aims to create a shift in perspective from “hunting to the more environment-friendly practice of harvesting” fishes, coupled with information campaign about marine protection and preservation, to curb the ill effects of illegal fishing practices and continuous depletion of marine resources.

The MOA signing was complimented by a joint Manifesto signed by the three mayors as well as stakeholders from the three municipalities concerned. The said manifesto also calls for the strong implementation of RA 8550 and other local ordinances and total ban on commercial and illegal fishing activities.

Aside from law enforcement and marine protection, both the MOA and Manifesto also call for support and cooperation from the national government, private sector and other line agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Justice, Ombudsman, private entities and Non-Government Organizations such as the Philippine Business for Social Progress and Social Action Center and the Academe like the Samar State University – College of Fisheries and Marine Sciences.

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