By Gilbert P. Felongco
A lawmaker is pushing for stiffer penalties against foreign poachers in a bid to deter intruders taking advantage of the country’s vast coastal waters and its resources.
Representative Abigail Faye Ferriol of the party “Kalinga” said foreign poachers should be made to serve jail time as well as pay stiff fines to deter them from entering the country’s territorial waters.
“Poaching in Philippine waters by foreigners has long been a perennial problem in the country. Reports of foreign vessels caught by the naval authorities periodically form part of the news,” Ferriol said.
Ferriol vowed to re-introduce House Bill 5430, which amends the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act (RA) 8550 by imposing a fine of $100,000 (Dh367,000) and a jail term of 12 years to foreigners found guilty of poaching. She had earlier filed the same bill in the 15th Congress.
Based on her proposal, foreigners charged with poaching shall not be released unless all fines are fully paid.
Ferriol said there is a need for stricter penalties to drive home the point to foreigners, whether they are individuals, corporations or entities, that fishing in Philippine waters is not allowed. More....