Cam Sur Mayor, armed Bantay Kalikasan members shot 15 fishers, 1 killed, 4 wounded , says Pamalakaya report

Cam Sur Mayor, armed Bantay Kalikasan members shot 15 fishers, 1 killed, 4 wounded , says Pamalakaya report

The national headquarters of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) today received a report from its regional affiliate in Bicol that Mayor Jaime Delena of Presentacion town, Camarines Sur and 20 other armed men believed to be members of the Philippine Army in Bicol region shot 15 fishermen on board of a small-scale commercial fishing vessel.

According to the initial report forwarded by Lakas Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of Pamalakaya, last March 3, at around 2 p.m some 20 fishermen were on their way home from a fishing trip in off San Jose waters in Lagonoy Gulf when a group of 20 armed men led by Mayor Delena riding on a service boat provided by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-Region V) fired shots at the returning fishermen.

The shooting incidence lasted for a few minutes, and witnesses said the BFAR service boat carried Delena and his armed companion backed to Presentacion municipal hall. Report said Domingo Barbado 22 years old was killed while three others—Andy Pana (18 years old), William Arroyo (49 years old) and Ricky Fernandez (31 years old) were wounded.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Mayor Delena employed former members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join the Bantay Kalikasan group, which he described as a group of trigger happy ex-soldiers and hired goons tapped by the mayor to scare and terrorize other fishermen fishing in the municipal waters of Presentacion, so he could monopolize fishing activities in his town, since the mayor is also an owner of several commercial fishing fleets in the province.

“We condemn this barbaric and brutal act of Mayor Delena and his goons. The mayor is acting as if he is the little militarist emperor or military dictator in Presentacion who is licensed to kill people in the name of his political survival and economic interests,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader also condemned all members of Bantay Kalikasan and regional officials of BFAR Region V for conspiring with Mayor Delena in the brutal murder of Barbado and the frustrated massacre of 14 other fishermen.

The militant group said prior to the shooting rampage, Mayor Delena was also behind the illegal arrest and detention of a fisherman identified as Tirso Persia, 29 years old. Last March 1, Persia was accused on engaged in illegal fishing and was brought to the Presentacion town hall where Persia was tortured by alleged personnel of Delena.

Pamalakaya called on all the victims to come out in the open and filed appropriate criminal and civil charges against Mayor Delena, members of Bantay Kalikasan and regional officials of the BFAR Region V for these round-the-clock violations of human rights and fishing rights.

The militant group said it will ask the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), as well as the Senate and the House Committees on Human Rights to conduct an urgent investigation on the abuses and human rights violations committed by Mayor Delena and his men against the small fisherfolk in Presentacion, Camarines Sur.

“Mayor Delena should be investigated and he should be compelled to resign for performing crimes against the people and for betraying public interest,” said Pamalakaya. #

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