A total of 52 personnel have been added to the growing number of law enforcers who will actively take part in the protection of the country’s fishing grounds, DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and concurrent Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources national director Asis G. Perez said.

“Class Matilag,” whose training started July this year, is the fourth batch of volunteer personnel to complete the three-month law enforcement boot camp at the National Brackishwater Fisheries Technology Center in Pagbilao, Quezon. Divina Ignacio, legal assistant and licensing officer of BFAR IX is this year’s batch valedictorian.

“The increasing number of our law enforcement personnel is just in time for the implementation of the amended fisheries code wherein these enforcers along with other concerned government agencies will be at the forefront of protecting our seas. These trained personnel will also be tapped in educating the public, particularly those in the coastal areas, about the amended fisheries law,” Perez said.

The law enforcement training, which started October last year, equips prospective enforcers with skills and discipline to safeguard the country’s teeming marine and inland aquatic resources against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.

Ignacio, the class valedictorian said that their job as law enforcers entails serious commitment as it is about ensuring the sustainability of the country’s marine resources.

“We must be committed in our job to show our stakeholders that protecting our resources is the way to sustainable fisheries,” she said.

The training was divided into two parts: the 30-day transition period where participants are indoctrinated in discipline, conduct and values, basic tactical and physical training and the 60-day training on BFAR operations and protocols, fishery laws and aquatic protection, shipboard operations and practicum, advance tactical training, water search and rescue, field training exercises and physical development program. The trainees are closely supervised by BFAR’s Law Enforcement Unit.(DA-BFAR)