MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is one with other government agencies in condemning illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
According to BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona, the agency supports the efforts of the national government in relation to the disputed waters; thus, they participate in joint exercises within the area.
“Patuloy nating sinusulong ang ating kasarinlan sa ating WPS at kinokendena natin lahat ng iligal na pangingisda doon,” he said.
The official noted that the estimated fish production in WPS last year was 324,312 metric tons which contributed to the country’s overall production of the fisheries sector by 7.36%.
Gongona said it is important that the country protects its rights over the area.
“Ang significant effort ng BFAR, pati ang ibang ahensya na kasama po roon, ay para pangalagaan ang mga fishermen doon, fishing vessels, environment, at to prevent illegal unreported, unregulated fishing, and [violation of] fishery laws,” he noted.
He reported that BFAR joined the recent maritime exercises in the WPS where it sent a total of five vessels.
“Recently, nag-conduct po sila ng exercises doon kasama ang BFAR monitoring, control, surveillance vessels po namin. Five po sila doon, and okay naman po ang report sa amin ng [Philippine Coast Guard],” he assured.