Preposterous and stupid

I can forgive Provincial Administrator Raul Banias over his inadequate understanding of the law. He is a medical doctor and the ramifications of the Local Government Code might easily slip his grasp. But as the “little governor” of Iloilo, he should get sound legal advice before dwelling into the minefield of legal discussion. His statements regarding the municipal ordinance enacted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Concepcion, Iloilo regulating the extraction, collection and harvest of nylon shells from its municipal waters have been downright preposterous and stupid.

Banias, in an interview over Bombo Radyo with anchorman Don Dolido, said that the use of air compressors as breathing aid for the divers who harvest nylon shells is hazardous to marine life. According to the feeble mind of Banias, the bubbles generated by the breathing apparatus of divers “scare” the fishes away. Where did he get this kind of reasoning? Only a moron can make this argument. Bubbles of air floating to the surface constitutes the least danger to fishes. If that were so, then the use of aerators should be discouraged in aquariums. Neither should it be used in fishponds then.

But Banias is scratching rock bottom when he tries to ascribe danger to fishes to bubbles of air. The illegal forms and methods of fishing are defined under Republic Act No. 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code. The use of air compressors to supply air for the breathing apparatus of divers is not included in its scope. It is much unlike the destructive methods of fishing such as the “palupad” or the “super hulbot” that Banias had allowed to operate in the municipal waters of Concepcion when he was municipal mayor. Well, that position might be understandable, because illegal fishing operators were his biggest suppliers of fish and marine products to shipment to Manila.

The plagiarist and hacker, Nereo Lujan, came to Banias’s defense in a column published on Monday, March 14. Reiterating the moronic arguments of his boss, Lujan harped on the supposed opposition filed by a chairman of a barangay fisheries council in Concepcion. In citing provisions of the Local Government Code, Lujan, who was kicked out from the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) 10 years ago on plagiarism issues, deliberately omitted that portion which states that an ordinance is presumed valid and effective if the Sangguniang Panlalawigan fails to act on it with 30 days.

Lujan also declared that the ordinance must be infirm for violating Memorandum Circular No. 129, series of 2002, of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). Perhaps Lujan, with his penchant of just copying anything that suits him without proper attribution, didn’t bother to read the document in its entirety. The circular “enjoins” LGUs to enact ordinances banning the use of compressors as breathing apparatus in fishing. Well, maybe he doesn’t even understand the word “enjoin”.

What is being overlooked here is the exhaustive technical studies and consultation undertaken by the LGU in crafting this ordinance to regulate nylon shell harvesting. Director Drussila Bayate of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) confirmed that Mayor Milliard Villanueva requested for her agency’s assistance in doing a study on nylon shells. The BFAR fielded five divers who are experts in fisheries to survey the coastal waters of Concepcion. A report was formally submitted to the LGU which, among others, outlined suggestions on the regulated harvesting of nylon shells.

This only shows that Mayor Villanueva and the Sangguniang Bayan didn’t enact the ordinance without first looking into every aspect of the nylon shell extraction activity. The municipal council mapped the Concepcion Bay, designated the areas where harvesting is permitted, and set strict regulations on the volume and size of the nylon shells to be marketed. Below the sanctioned size, the municipal fish wardens are empowered to confiscate the same and throw them back into the shallow waters.

Question: did the previous administration even consider crafting such an ordinance? Banias admitted commercial scale harvesting has been going on for more than three years. Why didn’t he mutter a protest? Just because the business was controlled by SB member Sandy Boy Salcedo, Banias felt it was okay to do so?

It must also be emphasized that the nylon shell phenomenon was discovered only four years ago, when Banias was still municipal mayor. He claims credit for it, saying it was his campaign to protect the marine resources of the town that helped bring back nylon shells into its waters. The truth is that Banias wasn’t really against illegal fishing. It was then Governor Niel Tupas Sr. who persisted in stopping all forms of destructive methods of fishing in the 5th district.

At one point, Banias detested the presence of the provincial bantay dagat in Concepcion. He even got the Sangguniang Bayan to pass a resolution declaring as “persona non grata” members of the PNP Mobile Group that escorted the provincial bantay dagat. Governor Tupas, on several occasions, warned him about the operations of his friends who used the “palupad” and “hulbot-hulbot” methods of fishing.

It is ironic that Banias is now using the same provincial bantay dagat to harass the municipal fisherfolk of Concepcion, and in the process trampling upon the prerogatives of the LGU to manage its own marine resources. But he should really get good advice on how to proceed on this issue. Slowly, the truth is coming to the surface, and he is being proved wrong. His preposterous and stupid remarks are only dragging him down like a heavy anchor, with his factutom Lujan serving as additional weight.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

6 Responses to Preposterous and stupid

  1. The PR machinery of Banias and Lujan are now making it appear that the ordinance “fails to set guidelines on the harvesting of nylon shells”. Lujan should read the ordinance. He should avoid his old habit of just copying and pasting, and then claiming as his own, news items. A careful reading of the ordinance shows just the contrary to what these Capitol lies are trying to portray. The ordinance regulates the areas where harvesting is allowed, the maximum volume, and even the sizes of the nylon shells. The purpose is to bring about a sustainable producton of the marine product and avoid over-exploitation as what happened in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.


    • ariel c. manipula says:

      Excellent! I for one and the people of concepcion are happy and thankful that ther is someone like you Mr. Mejorada who took and will still take the cudgels of unmasking this pseudo champion of small fiisherfolks and expose his real intentions to the public!In his penchant for publicity, having interviews to several radio stations in an almost daily basis, he unwittingly paraded himself on the airwaves totally naked!One time in a meeting with the governor he mouthed a legalese which almost made me throw up!Such ignorance of the law that i would have him disbarred where he a lawyer.I wish i could sue him for mal practice.he,he!
      Just now,while typing this,i glanced at the ‘Panay News’and once again read a misleading piece if not a total distortion of the truth as to what really took place on that recent meetings we had with the honorable governor.The first meeting was on the evening of april 11,between six fisherfolks of concepcion,me and the honorable governor.The second was in the morning of the next day,april 12,with our mayor,me,the honorable governor,and 5 others including banias,the bfar director and provincial atty.ventilacion.lots of thins were discussed which is too lengthy to put here.One thing i thanked the governor was when he acceded to our request that due to extreme hardships and hunger our fisherfolks that have valid permits be allowed to gather shells for their daily sustenance,without fear of being herded into prison by the policemen ,of gestapo mentality ,ordered by banias.Our struggle though for local autonomy ,self determination and our stand against usurpation of authoritywere never and will never be given up.I hope the courts of law will soon clear this out,for i firmly believe in due process,in the rule of law and our basic constitutional rights to life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Or isliberty first before life?
      More power to you Mr. Mejorada!
      More power to you,Mr. Mejorada


  2. @Vice Mayor Ariel: The worst tyrant is one who hides behind a cloak of good intentions. Banias has fooled a lot of people with his so-called awards for outstanding leadership as mayor of Concepcion. I am working on a COA report which exposes the many anomalies he committed during his term as mayor, particularly on fiscal mismanagement. The problem with sugar-coating is that it melts under the heat of the sun, and it doesn’t take long before the bitter pill inside is exposed to public view.


  3. Banias can’t deny the fact that he made millions of pesos while still vice mayor and then mayor of Concepcion. He monopolized the fish catch from its vast fishing grounds and didn’t feel sorry about letting prohibited methods of fishing like “hulbot”, “super-hulbot” and “palupad” operate without fear of arrest. Now that Mayor Villanueva wants to give Concepcion fisherfolk an opportunity to partake of that wealth, Banias is violently objecting. Maybe he is afraid the people will realize just how much has been stolen from them.


  4. ariel c. manipula says:

    But there’smore to this than meets the eye Mr. Mejorada.Mr.Banias can’t ,though he wish he could ,do this by himself.All this man is capable of is ride on other people’s power/authority and manipulate them to suit his own end.Picture this;when asked why he’s doing this, i.e.the order to arrest and detention of the poor divers,his answer-“just obeying Governor’s Order”.And when I talked to the PD the answer was almost the same plus,”talk to Banias if you may”.Motives?You dont have to be a rocket scientist to assign motives to these players.The policeman assigned in Concepcion even boasted that he alone can freee the people he had deprived of liberty and to kow- tow to him is their salvation.Now you figure it out ,being in public service for so long this is as easy as two plus two.Also,dont forget the media for they too plays a very important part on this noble struggle of a small town to uphold the will of its people,and for local autonomy!
    To the PANAY NEWS,for petes sake ,stop reprinting again and again that line which in effect says”you will be given a permit if you can afford to pay 2,000.00 pesos for your compressor.Such is a distortion of the truth.There are requuirements to be met first before you go to the most expensive one,like a bgy.clearance,memebership to fiherfolks,a thorough physical and medical exam and an x ray.So dont make it appear that as long as you can afford to pay 2000.00 you’ll get a permit.Total expenses is more than 5,000.00 to get a permit.Ironically if not frustratingly only to be herded like cattle to small detention cell and worse to a farther detention camp away from your family.And it is often done on fridays!HAPPY WEEK END!Now because I did the best i could to free these men,I was branded,radiio and newspaper, as protector of illegal fishing!Where now is our due process and the rule of law?Has our justice system gone so haywired that we already lost our respect for human dignity and freedom?”GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!” Rings a bell Mr. Mejorada?


  5. Mark Quijano says:

    The eyes of the people of Concepcion must be opened. And I think if there are basis of this misconduct issues against Banias, case must be filed in the court. This is not a simple mistake.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: