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Amendments in fisheries law to hasten resolution of cases

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/NSA (The Freeman) - October 27, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Ocean conservationists and concerned government agencies are optimistic that amending the country’s fisheries law would strengthen its enforcement and pave way for the successful prosecution of violators.

During a press briefing yesterday, lawyer Gloria Ramos, Oceana Philippines vice president, said Republic Act 10654, which amended the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, granted the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) the authority to resolve administrative cases and impose fines and penalties.

The adjudication committee which has quasi-judicial functions is composed of the BFAR director as chairperson and four other members.

Ramos believes that the creation of the adjudication body would hasten the disposition of cases involving fisheries law violations. She admitted that there is slow-paced resolution of cases of fisheries violations filed in regular courts.

“Sa criminal case, we have to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubt but sa administrative, we only have preponderance of evidence. If you are in possession of dynamite then you can already be fined… With the administrative adjudication mas dali, ma-deter ang commission (of illegal fishing),” she told The FREEMAN.

The body is also given the power to issue cease and desist orders while the BFAR director or his duly authorized representative can issue notice of violation and order confiscation of  any fish, fishery species or aquatic resources illegally caught, taken or gathered, and all equipment, paraphernalia and gears.

BFAR-7 assistant director Dr. Allan Poquita, in a separate interview, said the central office has yet to designate the members of the adjudication body.

He added it would likely be from the legal division of BFAR.

Poquita is hoping that the amended fisheries law would be fully implemented by next year.

RA  10654 was enacted February this year but its implementing rules and regulations just took effect last October 10.

The amended law also imposes higher fines of up to P45 million on large-scale commercial fishing without permits. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BFAR BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES DR. ALLAN POQUITA FISHERIES GLORIA RAMOS OCEANA PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINE FISHERIES CODE POQUITA RAMOS REPUBLIC ACT
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