Monday, April 24, 2017

MMPA enforcement has begun.

At long last, the enforcement of the Mangal Marine Protected Area (MMPA) has begun. After nearly three (3) years of deliberations and public consultations, the MMPA Ordinance was passed in February 2015. After Mayor Joel's decisive victory in the May 2016 elections (his third and final term), the LGU's Department of Agriculture (DA) announced in February 2017 the start of enforcement of the MMPA on March 16, 2017.

Deployment of Marine Buoys--the single largest up-front investment
In anticipation of the start of enforcement of the MMPA, there was a clear requirement for marine buoys (also known as marker buoys or floating balls) to delineate the marine protected area, which would be the most costly upfront investment of this undertaking. Each marine buoy installation would consist of four (4) components: (a) buoy, (b) concrete weight, (c) nylon rope and (d) expended motorcycle tire.

Luckily, the LGU had plenty of concrete jackstones for artificial coral reefs, which remained undeployed for years. They would now serve two purposes instead of just one: an artificial coral reef AND an anchor for the buoys.

I also found a supplier of marine buoys at (marine buoys), which posted a price of P999 per buoy but agreed to sell 40 marine buoys (16 inches with 2 eyes at opposite ends) at P750 each or a total of P30,000, which Mayor Joel / LGU agreed to pay for in light of much higher priced alternatives in the market: (a) comparable marine buoy at P2,800 each (Euro Asia Merchandising, 16 inches with 2 eyes at opposite ends) and (b) comparable marine buoy at P1,900 each (INCA Marine Products, 16 inches float ball).

The LGU DA also agreed to provide the nylon rope (readily available in local stores), securing the first three (3) 200 meter rolls on credit.

Finally, the expended motorcycle tires (a recommendation of Ka Ilo for the purpose of mitigating the wear and tear of the nylon rope if tied directly to the concrete jackstones) were purchased at P7 each.

We were all set to deploy the buoys. We just needed the Bantay Dagat Volunteers who would install the same.

Bantay Dagat Volunteers--the local heroes
The recruitment of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers took a little longer than expected* and, finally, on April 17, 2017 (the Monday after Holy Week, after over 5 years since the inception of the MMPA), the full contingent of eight (8) Bantay Dagat Volunteers (6 under the payroll of the LGU and 2 under the payroll of Mangal) started their first day of enforcement. Noteworthy are Ka Ilo and Ryan, who started to perform their duties as Bantay Dagat on March 16, on their own initiative, with Ka Ilo volunteering his own bangka to patrol the Area. The eight (8) Bantay Dagat Volunteers are:

1.  Freddie Adan
2.  Ranilo "Ilo" Atienza
3.  Vicente "Onyok" Gajila
4.  Antonino "Ninong" Galicia
5.  Ryan Galicia
6.  Gary Siscar
7.  Regie Siscar
8.  Reynald "Igoy" Tadya

Prior to Holy Thursday 2017 (prior to the completion of the recruitment of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers), the Team (although not yet completed at this time) completed the installation of (a) the six (6) primary buoys (which required the use of a GPS to locate their precise locations in accordance with the MMPA Ordinance), (b) the first two (2) secondary buoys leading up to the first primary buoy and (c) the first mooring buoy for Ariel, the Bantay Dagat Mother Ship (my personal contribution to the Bantay Dagat initiative and also serves as a scuba diving boat for pioneering scuba diving tourists who visit Mansalay) that serves as a floating guard house for the Bantay Dagat Volunteers.

Bantay Dagat Bangkas
In addition to Ariel (Bantay Dagat Mother Ship / floating guard house), I am also contributing one (1) inflatable boat with a 30 hp Suzuki outboard motor in the event violators need to be followed and/or apprehended. This is in addition to the Bantay Dagat bangka of Barangay Don Pedro (thanks to Kapitan Fabila) and Ka Ilo's bangka, which will regularly patrol the area within the MMPA (in excess of 200 hectares) to the extent Barangay Don Pedro and/or the LGU provide the necessary fuel.

The following illustrates the set-up of the MMPA, which revises / refines the set-up contemplated in the MMPA Management Plan I prepared in September 2015.

Need More Rope
The only reason we could not install more buoys before Holy Thursday was due to the lack of nylon rope. The LGU DA had supplied us with three (3) 200 meter rolls of nylon rope (gauge ?? or about the diameter of my little finger, according to the recommendation of the Coral Rehabilitation Team engaged by the Provincial DA), which was completely used-up after the installation of the above nine (9) buoys. At this time, the Team is awaiting from the LGU DA the provision of fifteen (15) additional rolls of nylon rope to complete the installation of the remaining buoys; hopefully sooner than later, while the bamboo raft (contributed by Mangal) can still be used (i.e., bamboo rafts have a limited shelf life due to the rotting of bamboo exposed to the elements).

Bantay Dagat Payroll
The other major (and continuing) investment on the MMPA is the payroll of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, which is P200 per day per 12 hour shift per person (6 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 6 am for 24 hours coverage). Further, for the night shift of the two (2) LGU guard posts (Lalawigan and Sukbong Kugon), there will be two (2) Bantay Dagat Volunteers per post** or a sub-total of four (4) Bantay Dagat Volunteers plus two (2) Bantay Dagat Volunteers, one for each of the two (2) LGU guard posts during the day shift, or a total of six (6) Bantay Dagat Volunteers under the payroll of the LGU. This translates to P200 per day x 3 equivalent 12 hour shifts per day x 2 LGU guard posts or a daily payroll of P1,200 or about P36,000 every 30 day month. In the case of Mangal, which is deploying two (2) Bantay Dagat Volunteers at one (1) Mangal guard post (Casabangan) in two (2) 12 hour shifts, this translates to P200 per day x 2 equivalent 12 hour shifts per day or a daily payroll of P400 or about P12,000 every 30 day month.

In light of reported delays in the disbursement (as long as 3 months delay) of the LGU payroll of Bantay Dagat Volunteers in the Palaypay Marine Sanctuary, the Team was briefed on the necessary documentation to facilitate the timely disbursement of payroll from the LGU. This includes the proper completion, submission and approval/signature by the newly-appointed Bantay Dagat Supervisor, Pastor Rey Ladrera, of their respective (a) Daily Time Record or DTR and (b) Daily Accomplishment Report, which also serves as the Bantay Dagat Logbook (no unnecessary duplication of paperwork and less red-tape to free-up the Volunteers to accomplish real on-site work).

Daily Accomplishment Report Form
KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid, one of my favorite precepts in any enterprise, be it a profit-oriented, non-profit, civic, cause-oriented or charitable undertaking--including all aspects of the MMPA.

When you ask any of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers to perform a task at sea (like installing a buoy), they will execute with ease. dexterity and skill. Ask them to fill-up a Daily Accomplishment Report Form and they are likely to hit a brick wall. It's an unfortunate indicator of the inadequacies of our public education and widespread poverty in our rural communities. Hence, we have simplified the Daily Accomplishment Report Form of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers by classifying the entire universe of possible incidents involving Bantay Dagat into five (5) categories, which will be counted/reported, tracked and trended. These five (5) categories are:
  1. megaphone, papasok, lumikas (i.e., Bantay Dagat used the megaphone to inform an individual or party about to enter the MMPA and such individual or party complied)
  2. megaphone, pumasok, lumikas (i.e., Bantay Dagat used the megaphone to inform an individual or party that has already entered the MMPA and such individual or party complied)
  3. kinausap, papasok, lumikas (i.e., Bantay Dagat spoke in close range or personally with an individual or party about to enter the MMPA and such individual or party complied)
  4. kinausap, pumasok, lumikas (i.e., Bantay Dagat spoke in close range or personally with an individual or party that has already entered the MMPA and such individual or party complied)
  5. kinausap, pasaway (i.e., Bantay Dagat spoke in close range or personally with an individual or party that either is about to enter or has already entered the MMPA and such individual or party refused to comply)
Hence, Bantay Dagat Volunteers need only to count the above incidents by placing "tick marks" corresponding to any of the above scenarios already enumerated in their Daily Accomplishment Report Form and provide identification details, to the extent possible, particularly under scenarios 3, 4 and 5 in which a Bantay Dagat Volunteer had spoken in close range or personally with an individual or party to comply with the MMPA Ordinance.

In short, there is absolute minimum writing involved in filling-up the Daily Accomplishment Report Form, a photocopy of which is a deliverable attached to their DTR for payroll and the original retained at the Barangay Office for the record (effectively becomes the logbook of each Bantay Dagat Volunteer without any unnecessary duplication of paperwork).

Tracking. Trending, Basic Statistical Quality Control
The data from the Daily Accomplishment Report Forms of each Bantay Dagat Volunteer will be compiled, tracked and trended periodically to determine the extent of compliance and non-compliance and the trend thereof. Over the course of time, this information (with the application of basic statistical quality control techniques) will help Bantay Dagat refine and improve its methods of enforcement. Ultimately, the goal is zero non-compliance (i.e., no more entries into the MMPA) and 100% compliance (i.e., those instances of potential entry into the MMPA comply with Bantay Dagat instructions and refrain from entering the MMPA), which will naturally result in an increase in marine biomass and a corresponding increase in fish catch outside the boundaries of the MMPA.

As the saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." All this enforcment at the MMPA is for nought if there is no improvement in the marine ecosystem and corresponding increase in fish catch (i.e., more food on the table). Gelisa (LUG's resident marine biologist) will arrange for the Provincial DA (which usually engages the UP Marine Science Institute) to conduct an annual survey of the MMPA to determine the results (hopefully positive) of our efforts at the MMPA. This will be our annual report card to the community.

The following video shows the highlights of my dives at Apo Island, Dumaguete several years ago. The municipal waters around Apo Island is one of the first and still one of the best marine sanctuaries in the Philippines. When the underwater video footage at the MMPA resembles this video footage in Apo Island, then we can consider the MMPA a success.

Scuba Diving at Apo Island, Dumaguete

Early Enforcement Innovation
During the first few days of enforcement, Ka Ilo noticed fishermen attaching their non-motorized bangkas to the main buoys of the MMPA and requested them to refrain from doing the same. This prompted me to ask the question, "Masisira ba yung buya at lubid kung gawin ito ng mangingisda na maliit na sagwan na bangka?" (Translation: "Will the buoy and rope be damaged if this is done by fisherfolks using small non-motorized bangkas?") The response from Bantay Dagat Volunteers was "NO", which subsequently led to an extensive discussion on the matter. As a result, the Bantay Dagat Team (every one of them a fisherman) came-up with nothing less than a Solomonic decision.

Fisherfolks would be allowed to attach to the buoys provided:
  1. Only small non-motorized bangkas would be allowed to do so, to prevent damage to the buoys and rope;
  2. The attachment of non-motorized bangkas should be "sagad" or no more than a few meters long, to ensure that they do not end-up within the "no-take zone" or "transition zone" of the MMPA;
  3. The fisherfolks attaching their non-motorized bangkas to the buoys will be requested to clean the rope securing the buoys periodically (mollusks naturally grow on the buoy ropes over time) to lengthen the usable life of said buoy ropes.
Hence, the buoys cease to be just a tool of enforcement and become a tool of livelihood for the fisherfolks. We hope this will motivate the same fisherfolks to protect the same buoys as their own and to use this privilege so that they themselves will become highly visible live giant buoys marking the perimeter of the MMPA. Moreover, an important lesson may be gleaned on the matter of enforcement. It is not about being strict for strictness sake alone but being strict with the paramount goal of being helpful to the fisherfolks and the community-at-large. Kudos to the Bantay Dagat Team for this early enforcement innovation!

[First Serious Offense]

Pending Short-Term Tasks

Removal of residual waste of fish traps. When the LGU DA announced in February 2017 the start of enforcement of the MMPA on March 16, 2017, a handful of individuals responsible for installing fish traps or baklad (all of which had no permits) within the MMPA were given notice to remove the same by March 15, 2017. Although the fish trap operators recovered the reusable components of their fish traps, they did not remove non-reusable components, such as the frayed and damaged nets of the fish traps, which constitute residual waste. The Bantay Dagat Volunteers will be removing said residual waste of fish traps, retaining the wooden stakes that will harbor the growth of oysters and mollusks, and contribute to the rehabilitation of marine life at the MMPA.

Construction of LGU Guard Posts. The LGU DA has committed to construct permanent guard posts (concrete structure) at the LGU Guard Posts in Lalawigan and Sukbong Kugon. While we are awaiting said permanent guard posts, Mangal is contributing the materials (bamboo and kugon) for the construction of temporary guard posts in the said locations for the comfort and convenience of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, who will be responsible for assembling the same.

Deployment of Remaining Buoys. At this time, only 9 out of the 40 buoys have been deployed at the MMPA, representing 22.5% completion of said deployment. There are 31 buoys left to deploy, subject to the provision of additional nylon ropes by the LGU DA.

Initial Rehabilitation Plans

Rehabilitation of Mangroves. With the support of the Provincial DA, incumbent Barangay Captain Fabila (Barangay Don Pedro) already initiated the rehabilitation of mangroves within the MMPA (Sijbren himself planted mangrove seedlings alongside the team of Kapitan Fabila), only to be destroyed on the sly by a few ignorant and petty objectors in the community. (I mean, really, why would you go out of your way to pull-out and destroy young mangrove seedlings unless you had shit for brains. We know who you are but the witness just doesn't want to testify, so you're on my shit-list.) The Bantay Dagat at the MMPA was not yet operational at that time. We hope Kapitan Fabila will resume his mangrove rehabilitation initiative at the MMPA, which will surely have a better chance of survival now that the Bantay Dagat is in place.

Deployment of Coral Nursery Platforms. After conducting a survey of coral conditions within the MMPA in February 2017, the Coral Rehabilitation Team engaged by the Provincial DA committed to contributing one (1) coral nursery platform to initiate the coral rehabilitation within the MMPA. My nephew, Sijbren, who has taken a personal interest in coral rehabilitation convinced his mom (my sister, Betta) to contribute three (3) additional coral nursery platforms. Hence, we have a total of four (4) coral nursery platforms to nurse collected coral stems within the MMPA for about one (1) month. At which point, they should be strong enough to be transplanted directly into the rock substrates at the sea floor within the MMPA.

We are awaiting the availability of the Coral Rehabilitation Team (around 15 scuba divers experienced in selecting and transplanting coral stems) to deploy the coral nursery platforms at the ideal location, collect the coral stems for the nursery and, after a month, transplant the same into the rock substrates. Hence, in addition to allowing the existing corals to replenish on their own, we are initiating a more pro-active positive intervention with respect to coral rehabilitation within the MMPA.

Deployment of Steel Skeletal Dome. Cocoy Generoso, LGU Public Information Officer, pointed out a steel skeletal dome in front of the Municipal Hall, which is just rusting away. He suggested that the LGU could deploy this dome within the MMPA as its first artificial coral reef--a brilliant utilization of an otherwise marginally useful metal structure. Every contribution counts. Many thanks Cocoy!

Deployment of Seaweed Nursery. In the course of my discussions with the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, Ryan (one of our Bantay Dagat Volunteers) informed me that many years ago, someone attempted a seaweed farm in the Casabangan area, which was unsuccessful. That said, we will attempt a small (very nominal) seaweed nursery within the MMPA not necessarily for the seaweed itself but to test the seaweed nursery's ability to attract and feed the endemic fish. It will be a nominal seaweed string of about 100 meters with appropriate anchors (cement weights shaped by buckets) and floaters (like discarded 1.75 liter Coke plastic bottles) installed and maintained by the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, in part to add variety to their work routine. 

The primary objectives are to attract and feed the fish. In the course of the seaweed growth, it will mature and become less palatable to the fish. At which point it will be harvested, dried and sold (most likely to seaweed buyers in Caluya Island, where we also plan to secure the initial stock or binhi)--the proceeds of which will be shared among the Bantay Dagat Volunteers (the secondary objective). It will be modest at best but every little bit of additional livelihood helps.

Depending on the capability of the eight (8) Bantay Dagat Volunteers, we may add seaweed strings but only to the extent they do NOT interfere with the main tasks of Bantay Dagat in securing the MMPA.

Seaweed Farming in Caluya, Antique

Relocation of Endemic Taklobo (Giant Clams). In another discussion with the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, I pointed out the sanctuary of giant clams in Bolinao and how the UP Marine Science Institute helps to propagate the same throughout the Philippines. However, I also cautioned that it would be difficult to elicit the support of the UP Marine Science Institute because our MMPA is new and has no track record in protecting endangered species like the giant clams of Bolinao.

The Siscar cousins (Gary and Regie, two of our Bantay Dagat Volunteers who are also spear fishermen; they spear fish outside the MMPA) said, "Puwede kami mangolekta ng taklobo sa labas ng MMPA at ilagay sa loob ng MMPA para hindi manakaw at maaari nating alagaan. Kapag napakita natin na kaya nating alagaan ang ating lokal na taklobo, siguro maniniwala sila na kaya rin nating alagaan ang kanilang malalaking taklobo sa ating MMPA."

(Translation: "We can collect local giant clams outside the MMPA and relocate them inside the MMPA, so that they cannot be stolen and we can take care of them. If they see that we can take care of our local giant clams, then maybe they will believe that we can also take care of their larger giant clams within our MMPA.")

And so the Siscar cousins will take-on the challenge of proving to the UP Marine Science Institute that we can take care of our local giant clams within our MMPA before we request for some of the giant clams of Bolinao (Tridacna gigas--see below) to be relocated within our MMPA.

Tridacna gigas is one of the most endangered clam species. Antonio Pigafetta  documented these in his journal as early as 1521. One of a number of large clam species native to the shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans, they can weigh more than 200 kilograms (440 lb), measure as much as 120 cm (47 in) across, and have an average lifespan in the wild of over 100 years. They are also found off the shores of the Philippines, where they are called "taklobo", and in the South China Sea in the coral reefs of Sabah (Malaysian Borneo). Tridacna gigas lives in flat coral sand or broken coral and can be found at depths of as much as 20 m (66 ft). Its range covers the Indo-Pacific, but populations are diminishing quickly and the giant clam has become extinct in many areas where it was once common.

The Giant Clams of Bolinao, Pangasinan (Tridacna gigas)

Information, Education, Communication (IEC)
When Pastor Mau (Head of LGU DA) and Gelisa (our LGU's resident marine biologist) convened a public announcement (February 2017, Barangay Don Pedro) of the start of the enforcement of the MMPA on March 16, 2017, Sijbren and Sophie (my niece; daughter of my first cousin, BJ Padilla) gave a presentation on the importance of the conservation and rehabilitation of mangroves and coral reefs, which is an example of an information, education and communication (IEC) exercise. Moreover, Sijbren and Sophie will be completing a website that will include the said presentation and feature the LGU's efforts at marine conservation (in English and Filipino), which will hopefully encourage and help other barangays in Mansalay (indeed, all coastal communities throughout the Philippines) invest in their own marine protected areas. The link to Sijbren and Sophie's website will follow soon.

I have always been a fan of catchy slogans, the best of which are virtually etched into your subconscious, never to be forgotten . . . even after you're dead. Four slogans come right out of my mind; two are from San Miguel Corporation ("Mag-beer muna tayo!" and the very current "Ganado sa Buhay!"), the third is from my first employer right out of college, United Parcel Service or UPS ("We run the tightest ship in the shipping business.") and the fourth is the current slogan of the Department of Tourism ("It's more fun in the Philippines!")--see illustrations below.

Image result for mag beer muna tayo

Image result for ganado sa buhay slogan

Image result for the tightest ship in the shipping business

Image result for it's more fun in the philippines logo

Similarly, it is important that the MMPA also have it's own slogan. One that will encapsulate the essence of the undertaking that most everyone in the community can identify with. Ideally, the MMPA slogan should have an equally catchy background illustration for signages, media . . . but we're getting way ahead of ourselves. Suffice it to say that I have asked the Bantay Dagat Volunteers to come-up with slogans, one of which will be selected to be the slogan of the MMPA. To be announced in the near future.

Also critical to the long-term success of the MMPA is an ongoing IEC campaign to inform and educate the community-at-large throughout the Municipality of Mansalay of the required discipline and corresponding merits associated with strict and proper enforcement at the MMPA.

The first such IEC initiative contemplated is an annual comic strip contest that will be held in all the high schools within the Municipality of Mansalay, with a nominal cash price for the first, second and third placers, whose comic strips will be published for distribution to all the barangays within the Municipality of Mansalay--subject to availability of LGU funds, of course.

In 2010, under the helm of Pastor Ladrera, the Palaypay Marine Sanctuary was deemed the best marine sanctuary in Oriental Mindoro. With very limited resources, the marine sanctuary in Gloria, Oriental Mindoro, which has been in effect for over 12 years, was ranked 4th in the whole Philippines. Although not as well known, I have personally seen the impressive results of the marine conservation efforts at the Buyayao Island channel (Municipality of Bulalacao), which has also been in effect for a number of years. Over time, there is no reason that the MMPA in Barangay Don Pedro, Mansalay could become the best marine sanctuary in the whole Philippines--a distinction that would serve well in the IEC campaign of the MMPA.

The following is one of the contests our MMPA may join when we are ready:

Best Marine Protected Area and Bantay Dagat Team in Oriental Mindoro

I conclude this documentation of the commencement of the MMPA with cautious optimism. I can still recall my delight beyond words when I snorkeled Casabangan as a young boy, only to be profoundly devastated after I saw the destruction of the same marine ecosystem over 30 years after.

I've been a broken record ever since, advocating the MMPA in the hope of recovering what I experienced when I was a boy. If not for myself, then for future generations. To many, it's about putting food on the table. For others, it's for the tourist resorts that would bring jobs and livelihood to the local people. In the course of this advocacy, I have nearly come to blows with people who couldn't care less or didn't understand. To say the least, I was surely a nagging irritant even to those who cared and understood. In this regard, my special thanks to Ka Porek Tolentino, who undoubtedly used his "anting-anting" of persuasion (even though he claims to have lost it) as he patiently and doggedly supported this cause every excruciating step of the way. (Ka Porek is a former Barangay Captain and incumbent Kagawad of Barangay Don Pedro. He is the family's local representative in Mansalay, a dedicated community leader and a genuine steward of the forest and the sea.) Yet, all the effort and aggravation seemed to be worthwhile when Igoy (one of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers, a fisherman who happens to be my first scuba diving "graduate") told me what he said to his friends:

"Sinabi ko sa aking mga kasamahan na mayroong bangko para sa pera at diyan tayo nag-iimpok ng pera para mayroon tayong makukuhanan sa panahon ng pangangailangan. Ganoon din ang ating sanctuary. Para iyang bangko para sa isda at dito tayo nag-iimpok ng isda para mayroon tayong makukuhanan sa panahon ng ating pangangailangan. Kung hindi natin alagaan ang ating sanctuary, wala tayong maiimpok na isda at, balang-araw, wala na tayong mahuhuling isda sa panahon ng ating pangangailangan."

(Translation: "I told my friends that there are banks for money and that is where we save our money, so we can draw from it during a time of need. The same applies to our sanctuary. It is like a bank for fish and that is where we save our fish, so we can draw from it during a time of need. If we do not take care of our sanctuary, we will not have any savings of fish and, someday, there will be no more fish to catch in our time of need.")

* Mayor Joel initially delegated the task of recruitment to Kagawad Payang Cabayag, a political ally who understandably selected individuals who likewise supported the Mayor. However, some of the initial "volunteers" showed little resolve in fulfilling their role as Bantay Dagat. After the first Bantay Dagat briefing, only two (2)--Ka Ilo and Ryan--of the initial four (4) volunteers agreed to continue as Bantay Dagat and requested that the night shift (for the LGU Bantay Dagat) be allocated two (2) Bantay Dagat for each of the two (2) LGU guard posts. The reason for this request is due to concerns about "resbak"**--Filipino slang for revenge (for enforcing the law), particularly while a Bantay Dagat Volunteer is guarding at a remote guard post at night.

"Maraming salbahe dito. Baka saksakin na lang kami kung mag-isa kami sa guard post sa gabi." (Translation: "There are many bad elements here. They might just stab us if we are alone in our guard post at night.") This encapsulates the sentiments of the Bantay Dagat Volunteer here in Barangay Don Pedro.

Mayor Joel listened and agreed to this request. In addition, Mayor Joel, who initially thought of assigning two (2) Bantay Dagat from Paylaypay to the MMPA, scrapped this idea because of the well-known anomalies already committed by the Palaypay Bantay Dagat and agreed to heed "best practices" by recruiting from the immediate locality of the MMPA (Barangay Don Pedro) on the basis of the "best individual for the job"--instead of solely on political alliance.

Kudos to the progressive thinking of Mayor Joel! Hence, the collective leadership in Barangay Don Pedro believes they have recruited an "A" Team for the MMPA Bantay Dagat. Moreover, additional volunteers surfaced when it became known that the selection of Bantay Dagat was going to be based mainly on initiative, merit and conviction instead of solely on political patronage.

** After sleeping on this serious issue of "resbak", sinabi ko sa mga Bantay Dagat Volunteers na dapat nila ipaalam sa madla na, sa darating na panahon, magkakaroon ng mga resorts sa lupa ng aking ama na magbibigay ng maraming trabaho sa mga lokal na tao. At tinitiyak ko sa pamamagitan ng kasunduan sa mga resorts na bago mabigyan ng trahabo ang bawat isa sa lokal na tao ay dadaan muna sa akin. Kaya kung sinuman ang magpinsala or hindi magrespeto sa Bantay Dagat Volunteer sa pagtupad ng kanilang layunin sa MMPA, ang naturing tao, ang kanyang mga anak, ang kanyang mga apo and at kanyang buong angkan ay hindi mabibigyan ng trabaho sa loob ng eco-tourism complex.

 (Translation: I said to the Bantay Dagat Volunteers that they should make it known to the entire community that, in due time, there will be resorts within my father's property, which will provide many jobs to the local people. And I will personally ensure by way of an agreement with resort locators that each and every local hire will pass through me, so that if anyone harms or even disrespects any of the Bantay Dagat Volunteers in their capacity as enforcers of the MMPA, such individual, his children, his grandchildren and his whole clan will not be able to work within the eco-tourism complex.)

That should give pause to anyone who intends to harm a Bantay Dagat Volunteer for enforcing the MMPA Ordinance.

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