Senate panel urges MARINA to “go closer” to fisherfolk

The Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones on Thursday appealed to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to reach out to fisherfolk in far-flung areas who seek to register their fishing boats. This, after the panel received a petition signed by more than 70 fishermen from Zambales who find it hard to travel to MARINA's Central Office at Port Area, Manila. MARINA is the government agency that issues the Safe Manning and Fishing Vessel Certificates to fisherfolk after complying with the needed requirements. During the hearing on the motu proprio investigation of the panel regarding the collision of a fishing boat and a crude oil tanker off the waters of Pangasinan on October 2, Senator Francis Tolentino noted that Filipino fishermen faced a long list of requirements to register their fishing boats. 'Ang daming mangingisda tayo na nangangailangan ng inyong tulong. Ang lumalabas, napakarami niyong requirements, pabalik-balik sa Maynila. Ubos na yung anim na toneladang Tambacol na kinita nila. Tapos ang tagal ng proseso, antagal pa nung pag-release (We have a lot of fishermen that needs your help. It seems that you have a lot of requirements and they are going back and forth to Manila. Their earnings from a six-ton catch are wiped out. And the process and releasing also take time)," he said. The chairperson of the panel also pointed out that those who fail to comply with MARINA's certification requirements face confiscation of their fish harvests. "Tapos kapag hindi na-release yung certificate, huhulihin pa sila. Hindi na sila makakapangisda. Gutom yung pamilya at wala tayong isda sa palengke (Without the certificate, they will be apprehended. They will not be able to fish. Their families will starve and we will not have fish in our markets)," he added. Benedicto Manlapaz of MARINA Enforcement Service said part of MARINA's programs is for the establishment of satellite offices in strategic areas, and are now in the process of identifying possible locations for the satellite offices. Manlapaz also assured that he will refer the concerns to top MARINA executives. He said MARINA will also try to reach out to the petitioners to check the probability of a mobile registration in Zambales.

Source: Philippines News Agency