|THE CELESTE'S SIBLING: From left is Pangasinan 1st District Congressman Jesus or Boying, former congressman Arthur, and Bolinao Mayor Alfonso|
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ALAMINOS CITY – Because of the massive fish kill that snapped hundreds of millions of pesos from the pockets of stakeholders in the mammoth bangus (milkfish) industry not only in Pangasinan but in the country, the fire-brand mayor of this city assailed politicians in the neighboring towns of Bolinao and Anda as the culprit.
Mayor Hernani Braganza said that up to four-meter burak or mud has grown on the sea beds of these towns. These muds he explained came from the fish cages as leftover of the feeds and waste of the fish.
He said these distinctive muds can go and contaminate the sea.“When I was a congressman, I warned that red toxin will affect the aqua culture of Bolinao in the next 15 to 20 years. It did not reach that year!” he emphatically told the tens of hundreds of crowd who attended the launching of “FishTival Ed Alaminos” where ihaw-ihaw (grill) and boodle fight were the call of the day from the 2,500 milkfish and 1000 fish varieties the public had heartily partaken in a 50 meter-long table. The aqua products were roasted on a 400-meter-long grill.
He said politicians’ masquerade as environmentalist in that places did not learn a lesson.
Bolinao is the political bastion of the Celestes who are into the multi-million pesos feeds and bangus business.
The Celestes are Congressman Jesus or “Boying”, former congressman Arthur, and Bolinao Mayor Alfonso .
A source who asked anonymity cited the recent column of Neil Cruz at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s “The ABCs of the fish pen, fishpond industries”.
“The massive fish kills in Taal Lake, Batangas, and in parts of Pangasinan were caused by a five-letter word: G-R-E-E-D. The fish pen and fish cage operators were so greedy for profit that they overstocked their fish pens and cages with fingerlings”Cruz stressed that because each fish pen and fish cage applicant paid a fee to the LGU, the LGU officials approved the applications en masse to be able to collect the fees. He said because violators of the rules were made to pay a fine to the LGU and agencies like the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the officials themselves encouraged violations. The more violations, the bigger the fines collected. So that instead of discouraging violations, the fines encouraged government officials to tolerate violations
“In due time, because of greed, almost all the bodies of water were overpopulated with fish pens and fish cages so that the carrying capacities of the lakes were overloaded”
Brunner Carranza, Bolinao’s planning and development officer recently declared that fish operators have also been stocking more bangus in the cages. He said that in the early years of the aquaculture, they stock only 20,000 fishes in a 10-meter fish cage but now they stock up to 40,000. The more fish, the more feeds is needed and the more organic wastes go down the bottom of the channel.
Braganza also blamed the provincial government who in the past accused his family of maintaining an imaginary fish pen here.
“Sinisita nila iyong illegal fishpens sa Alaminos pero iyong mga kasama nilang politico sa (Anda and Bolinao) hindi nila sinisita!”
The city is not only fish-kill free but illegal-fishing free from malefactors who used dynamites, fine nets, and cyanides unabated to fish. Braganza and BFAR Director Asis Perez led the FishTival and the 113th Philippine Independence Day last January 13, a Monday at the public market here.
“Alaminos do this because she wants to save the bangus industry. Even we are fish-kill-free, we want to save the industry by show windowing it as safe before the country, “declared by Toots Orfinada, this city’s information officer