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Problem on Enforcing Bohol Coastal Law

Coastal law enforcement patrols in District 1 are tugging heavy operational cost problems, making efforts to drive illegal fishers off the municipal waters – sluggish. 

  This was the general statement of a key environment management officer at the Capitol who wished more coastal law enforcement performance, when pressed to assess illegal fishing campaign in Bohol seas.

  Capitol's Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) head, during a radio interview early this week publicly wished the district's Coastal Law Enforcement Council (CLEC1) could step up its campaign like their counterparts in other districts. 

  Villaber explained that CLEC 1 has three clusters, one based in Panggangan Island of Calape town, with the seas of Tubigon to Loon as its area of responsibility. The two others are in Cortes and whose area of enforcement includes Maribojoc Bay and the third cluster is based in Baclayon, which patrols the seas off Panglao island until Alburquerque .

  BEMO could not see any more problems in the CLEC 1 clusters 1 and 2, but cited the concern in Baclayon, Dauis and Panglao seas, including the one facing Maribojoc Bay. 

  In the past week, Boholanos noted a wounded dolphin stranding in Basac-Moalong in Loon, which was treated and released while a dead dolphin with wounds washed ashore in Taguihon Baclayon.

  Many believed the stranding of wounded dolphins were caused by illegal fishing in District 1 area.  

  The incident also alarmed authorities as the same areas happen to be developed for eco-tourism projects, one of which showcases the bio-diversity of the seas and its marine life in dolphin and whale watching tours.

  Years back, Bohol's won a prestigious accolade in the country for its innovative CLEC which groups towns and multiple government enforcement agencies into one apprehending team to make it effectively apolitical while stretching every available resource in a common pool. 

  Asked what are the current problems CLEC is facing, Villaber said it could be operational costs. He cited that a team would need at least 50-100 liters of fuel per patrol operations.

  But he added that the memorandum signed by the mayors on the CLEC call for contribution [for the operational costs], which has not been as implemented, causing the operations to stagger.

  "If only local government units could put more attention in the operations," he said while citing that areas like Tubigon to Loon is generally doing well with the local government support present. - Rey Anthony Chiu - PIA

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