Saturday, August 28, 2010

15 Fishermen Killed by Pirates Since March, 2010

As Reported Here
15 fishermen have been killed by pirates since March, 2010

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Zamboanga del Sur fishermen are urging the authorities to solve the problem of pirate attacks in Illana Bay.
The fishermen are also asking the Fishery Law Enforcement Team of the Illana Bay Alliance in Western Mindanao to reactivate a Navy sub-station in Pagadian City.
Ramon Abella, a representative of the fishermen, told reporters Thursday the pirate attacks had increased to an alarming rate lately and that the fishermen had formally asked the authorities, particularly the Fishery law Enforcement Team, to take action.
Abella said since March, 15 fishermen had died from pirate attacks on Illana Bay, particularly in the areas near Dinas town.
Illana is a major fishing area off Pagadian City and the towns of Tukuran, Tabina, Labangan, Dumalinao, San Pablo, Dinas and Diamataling.
The Philippine Coast Guard has confirmed the fatality figure.
Lt. Cmdr. Arman Balilo, PCG spokesperson, said eight of the victims since March were killed in the high seas off Pitogo, near Pagadian City.
Balilo said that aside from killing fishermen and taking away their valuables, pirates also occasionally stage kidnap-for-ransom activities.
Abella said some armed groups also extort money from fishermen.
He said the demand could range from P250 to P1,500 per month.
“Should this problem persist, we have only three options left: refuse to pay and stop fishing, pay the protection money and live through it, or for the government to solve the problem,” Abella said.
Zamboanga del Sur police director Senior Supt. Elmer Escosia said there was an urgent need to reactivate the Bantay Dagat in the affected towns.
Escosia agreed that the re-establishment of the Navy sub-station in Pagadian was also important in the campaign against piracy.
In 2008, a Naval Task Group was established in Pagadian.
During its first week of operation alongside Maritime police operatives, the NTG netted 21 suspected pirates.
The NTG was later dissolved for still unknown reasons.

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