Pamalakaya demands probe on gun-running BFAR

Pamalakaya demands probe on gun-running BFARZZZ_022112_mmanila.jpg

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) demands probe on the anomalous purchasing of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of fire arms and ammunitions.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA) report, on 2012, BFAR has purchased guns and ammunitions worth P8.925M without the permit and authorization from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

To be detailed, BFAR has purchased 5 M16 with insufficient supporting documents, 10 assault rifles, 28 shotguns, 120 9mm pistols, 10 .25 handguns, 20 tactical flashlights, and 50k assorted ammunitions; all amounting P8.925M that wasn’t even in the bureau’s allocation.

The purchased firearms are more than enough compared to the BFAR personnel that are authorized to use those firearms.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

The BFAR has asked its 76 employees to attend the training but all those employees were unauthorized and unqualified.

The purchased firearms, according to BFAR is meant to use against foreign harassment and against fishers who will commit the so called “illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing” (IUUF) or someone who will violate the amended Fisheries Code.

This is a clear misuse of public funds and abuse to power courtesy of BFAR Director Asis Perez. Those millions of funds could have been used to support and rehabilitate our municipal fisherfolk to gradually lift them out of poverty, but the gun-running syndicate BFAR is more concerned with armaments that are not necessity to the fishers.” France said.

From the year 2011 up to first half of 2015, the total unobligated budget by BFAR have reached to P9.3B. This is amidst the constant poverty incidences among fisherfolk and despite the bureau’s 17% annual budget increase.

Pamalakaya demands that instead of juggling those funds into a mere whim of BFAR officials, it should be instead used for the genuine improvement, modernization and adequate support to the impoverished fisherfolk.  The fisherfolk group also demands probe on where those billions of unobligated funds went and the anomalies in the purchasing of those unallocated firearms purchased by BFAR. ###

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