Duterte cartoon pushes coastal environment protection
TOP OF MIND - Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to reach out to the public, especially the fisherfolk in rural communities, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has produced an animated video featuring President Duterte in an educational campaign on coastal environment protection.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol presented the video in a briefing at Malacañang last week, aimed at promoting the government’s campaign against illegal fishing, use of dynamite and other forms of fishing that destroy the oceans.

The video depicts a cartoon figure of Duterte, in a checkered polo shirt and pants, strolling along the seaside. The cartoon also portrays the President fuming upon seeing activities that destroy the coastal areas such as the use of dynamite and damage to mangroves.

With a background tune of a video game, Duterte is also shown wearing goggles while diving in the sea, still clad in his checkered polo and pants.

In the same briefing, Piñol also reported that the flash floods in Northern Mindanao were due to illegal logging.

“In fact, just yesterday, we received reports from Northern Mindanao that flash floods caused a lot of devastation and damage not only to property and lives but also to agriculture,” he said.

In the face of this problem, Piñol said the DA is focusing on its ability to be able to adapt to climate change. 

Warning to LGUs

The DA also warned local executives to initiate moves to stop illegal fishing in their areas or face administrative charges.

“While we are giving incentives to coastal communities to protect their fishing grounds, the President has also made it clear that just like the campaign against drugs and criminality, the campaign against illegal fishing will also be very strict,” Piñol said.

He added that Duterte announced during the last Cabinet meeting the next target of operations will be “mayors and barangay chairmen of towns and villages where illegal fishing is prevalent.”

The local officials were given six months or until June to stop illegal fishing in their jurisdictions.

“After that, the Department of Agriculture will file administrative charges against all mayors and barangay chairmen who could not stop illegal fishing in their communities. This is part of our advocacy to protect our fishing industry,” Piñol said.

“With that, I would like to emphasize once again that this program is part of our effort to really protect our land, our fishing resources, our land resources,” the agriculture secretary said.

Piñol also announced that the DA is looking for outstanding coastal communities as part of efforts to produce more in the fishery sector, to protect the fishing industry.

As number one criteria, Piñol said these coastal communities should be free of illegal fishing.

“There must be a self-proclaimed closed fishing season to allow the fish to spawn and produce more,” he said.

Piñol said it would be a big factor if the coastal community has a declared marine sanctuary.

“There should be no garbage in their coastal waters and there should be a mangrove protection area,” he added.

The winners of this annual search will receive a presidential award.

The winning coastal community would receive P20 million that could be used for livelihood programs and projects in their community.

The second placer will get P8 million, while the third place winner will get P5 million. Regional winners are to receive P2 million.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY EMMANUEL PIñOL
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