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Guimaras governor bucks no-fishing zone declaration

September 16, 2006

By Jhunnex Napallacan
Inquirer

CEBU CITY – The plan of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to declare the waters around Guimaras as a “no-fishing zone” would have an adverse impact on at least a third of the province’s population, Guimaras Governor JC Rahman Nava said.

In a telephone interview, Nava expressed concern over the effects of the plan on his constituents who are dependent on small-scale fishing for their livelihood.

Nava said the ban would affect the livelihood of 50,000 Guimaras residents. He said all of Guimaras’ five towns as well as 54 of its 98 villages are coastal.

“You will be talking about one-third of the population that will be outright affected on this. That includes the fisher folk, fish vendors, fish traders, transport sector. So the implications are plenty,” the governor said.

Nava admitted that he was surprised upon reading the newspaper reports because there was no prior consultation on the matter. He said his province should have been consulted because it is the one directly affected.

Nava said there was also no official communication from Malacañang about the decision of the President.

“Sad to say, there was no consultation. That’s why we’re looking into this. We tried to validate things. We will, if necessary, ask for some reconsideration,” he said.

Nava said he would conduct a province-wide consultation among his people.

He noted that commercial fishing is not rampant in Guimaras since most of the fishing done in the area is small-scale.

(From INQ7.net, Sept. 16, 2006.)

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