Acting on a report of the presence of a vessel operating illegally, elements of the AFP and Coast Guard conducted a joint maritime patrol operation in sea waters of Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi on October 24, 2020.
“Based on the report from Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, our troops from the 312th Marine Company-Sibutu Detachment received a phone call from Sibutu Municipal Mayor Alsheefa Pajiji regarding the ongoing dynamite fishing in their municipality,” stated Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. WestMinCom Commander.
He continued by saying that the marine troops immediately coordinated with the Tactical Operations Squadron of the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Coast Guard Substation in the municipality and conducted a seaborne patrol in Barangay Taungoh to verify the reported illegal fishing activity in the area.
“The operation resulted in the apprehension of seven fishermen and the confiscation of several illegal fishing paraphernalia,” the commander added.
Apprehended were: Namli Romas, 28; Balli Kengli, 30; Misganda Solomon, 25; Namli Laja, 19; Herman Sayjuwan, 25; Laja Batuk, 20; and Uwang Sayjuwan, 30, all of Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi.
Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi Commander Col. Arturo Rojas said that the operating troops were able to seize the following items in the illegal fishers’ possession: several improvised dynamites (bungbung), 6 detonators, and 9 double-engined indigenous Motor Launch.
“They are conducting illegal fishing in the south side of Sibutu to hide from the eyes of the authorities and to eventually return to Sitangkai undetected,” Col. Rojas added.
The apprehended fishermen and confiscated items are detained at Sibutu Municipal Police Station for proper disposition and filing of appropriate charges.
“We urge the people residing in the island municipalities or the shorelines to immediately report any illegal fishing activity in their area,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.
“The military does not only focus on ending terrorism and violent extremism but, we also conduct law enforcement operations together with our counterparts to curb the illegal activities such as smuggling and illegal fishing in our area of operation,” he added. — Press release courtesy of Western Mindanao Command