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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Flex muscles vs. illegal fishing, mayor urged
Gov. Niel Tupas is scheduled to meet Carles Mayor Arnold Betita this week over allegations that the mayor is coddling illegal fishers in his town in the fifth district.
But Tupas chose not to wait for it to happen.
The governor dared Betita Friday to clamp down on illegal fishing in his town.
"That is my challenge to the mayor. If the mayor is against illegal fishing, there wont be incidents of blast or trawl fishing," Tupas told reporters. "Just stop illegal fishing."
The governor said that the mayor, being there in the locality, is in the best position to stop illegal fishing.
"The governor could only do so much. But it is really the mayor who can deal a decisive blow to illegal fishing," Tupas said.
Tupas, who himself is from the fifth district, said he has received information that big vessels engaged in trawl fishing have started to appear off the coast of Carles when Betita became the mayor.
They think that it might have been some kind of political accommodation, Tupas said, quoting speculations of residents of Carles.
Tupas also said that Bantay Dagat operatives under the provincial government no longer coordinate with Betita when they conduct operations in the area.
"They go home empty handed when they coordinate with the mayor beforehand," the governor said. "But why is it that when they operate without the mayor knowing, they are able to arrest illegal fishers?" he wondered.
But Tupas refrained from directly accusing Betita of coddling illegal fishers.
He said that what information he has are but allegations.
That is why I will talk to him regarding these allegations, he said.
Tupas admitted that fishermen still engage in blast fishing, although not as prevalent as before.
"There are still incidents, but not as recurrent as used to be," he said.
Betita in a television news interview strongly denied the allegation that he is involved in illegal fishing in northern Iloilo.
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Issues/Corruption / mismanagement