• Anti-illegal fishing campaign strengthened

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    LEGAZPI CITY: Outgoing Bicol Police Director Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona directed police commanders to strengthen the campaign against illegal fishing in the region.

    He also ordered the filing of charges against the killers of anti-illegal fishing advocate, Gerlie Menchie Alpajora.

    Deona has assumed his new post as chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Wednesday. He was the Bicol PNP chief since 2013.

    On July 29, 33-year-old Alpajora, of Sangay, Camarines Sur was gunned down in her residence in front of her two sons. She was the secretary of Sangay Tuna Fishing Association (STFA), a community organization that actively assists law enforcers in monitoring fish catch and illegal fishing.

    According to Deona, Alpajaro already received death threats prior to her killing and that some members of STFA also received threats. Despite of the threats, however, Alpajaro and her group continued with their activities against the illegal fishing, added Deona.

    Bicol PNP statistics showed that at least 2,698 persons engaged in illegal fishing in the region have been arrested in 2014 when only 627 were arrested in 2013.

    Of the 2,698 illegal fishers arrested, 2,027 have been jailed and charged in court while 64 fishing vessels were seized in Masbate and Sorsogon.

    The country’s environmental organizations, meanwhile, are seeking for immediate justice in the killing of Alpajora.

    These groups are: WWF Philippines, Save Philippine Seas, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Oceana Philippines, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Bicol Consortium for Development Initiatives Inc., Greenpeace Philippines, Tambuyog Development Center Inc., Pangisda Pilipinas, PKSK (National Union of Rural Based Organizations, and RARE Philippines.

    Vince Cinches, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines oceans campaigner said the Network of Conservation Organizations, together with all the sustainable fisheries advocates were in great shock, anger and grief upon learning of the tragic death of a conservation ally.

    “We strongly condemn the murder of an advocate who stood up for her rights, her children’s, the local community and the future of the fishing industry, as part of her role as the secretary of the Sagnay Tuna Fishers Association organized by WWF-Philippines,” the group said.

    “We demand for the immediate action from our authorities to give justice to Gerlie and the Alpajora Family. We urged all concerned agencies to intensify and expedite the investigation process and the filing of appropriate cases,” the group demanded from Camarines Sur authorities.

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