DAGUPAN CITY: The city mayor has ordered the City Agriculture Office (CAO) to strictly enforce an ordinance banning fishpens installed along the city’s river system after about 100 operators refused to dismantle their fishpens past the October 30 deadline.
Mayor Belen Fernandez instructed members of Bantay Ilog Task Force under CAO to immediately remove all fishpens erected on the river spanning five barangay (villages).
Fernandez instructed City Agriculturist Emma Molina to coordinate with acting police chief Supt. Neil Miro in dismantling the remaining illegal fishpens.
During a meeting between Fernandez and fishpen operators last September, the operators agreed to remove the fishens after their harvest on October 30, the deadline set by the mayor.
The operators, however, stopped the team from dismantling the fishpens and allegedly threatened to file criminal and administrative charges against the task force members.
They showed ownership of land titles over a lot submerged in the river claiming they are paying taxes for it.
City Legal Officer Victoria Cabrera earlier pointed out that the law is clear that when a private property is already submerged in water, it reverts to the public domain.
“All fishpens in the waters [of Dagupan]must go. Not one must be spared,” Cabrera reminded Molina.
She also reminded Molina that all fishpens must be dismantled immediately because it is also mandated by a city ordinance that declares fishpens in all waters of the city as illegal.
Cabrera pointed out that only the fishpens in city waters shall go and those situated outside the river will not be touched.