The 6th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Labason-Gutalac-Kalawit sentenced six (6) fishermen to an imprisonment of a maximum of two years and minimum of one year over compressor fishing within Murcielagos Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (MIPLS) in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte.
Compressor fishing is a violation against Section 18, paragraph e of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act or R.A. No. 11038, “read the court order”. Among the prohibited acts within the protected area are the use of any fishing and harvesting gear and practices that destroy coral reefs, seagrass beds, or other marine life and their associated habitats.
Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse systems in the world. Aside from providing habitats and shelter for many marine organisms, they also protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms.
Five of the accused were ordered to be detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte pending the approval of their application for probation. On the other hand, the cash bail bond of one of the accused shall remain valid and effective pending the approval of his application for probation.
DENR 9 Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez lauded the efforts of the CENR Officer of Liloy and the MIPLS Protected Area Superintendent in effectively enforcing the E-NIPAS Act in MIPLS with the apprehension and conviction of the illegal fishers.
Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, during the DENR New Year’s Call in Central Office last January 3, has ordered the Biodiversity Management Bureau [and the field implementers nationwide] to hit the ground running in the implementation of the E-NIPAS Act. It can be recalled that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the E-NIPAS Act was signed by the DENR Secretary in May 2019.
Covering a total area of 100.40 hectares, MIPLS is composed of two islands, Bayangan and Baliudyong, and is surrounded by about 250 hectares of coral reefs in fair to good condition.