The Department of Labor and Employment has created a Technical Working Group to address the new string of complaints about the recruitment of fish workers for "paaling" fishing in Ayungon, Negros Oriental.
Paaling is a deep-sea compressor fishing activity similar to “muro-ami” where fishermen, using crude apparatus, usually of junk iron and steel material, pound coral reefs to scare and drive fish into a net laid out on the ocean floor.
In a consultative dialog, Ayungon Mayor Edsel Enardecido proposed to government officials concerned to form a TWG to determine each role in monitoring individuals or business engaged in paaling fishing.
This was in reaction to DOLE 7 regional director Exequiel Sarcauga’s report on the 38 victims of Pesca Maharlika Marine Resources Inc., the Navotas, Malabon based fishing company now under fire for victimizing 250 fishermen-workers and for alleged violations of numerous laws.
These include anti-human trafficking (Republic Act 9208); illegal recruitment (RA 10022); child labor (RA 7158); and worst forms of child labor (RA 9231).
The fish workers-complainants are residents of Ayungon, a fourth-class municipality in Negros Oriental, where the people’s chief occupations are farming and fishing.
However, in a consultation with the stakeholders, Sarcauga stressed the immediate resolution of the case and to prevent the incident from happening again.
In his presentation, the DOLE director focused on the occupational safety and health conditions, social benefits, and employment terms and conditions for the fishermen employed in paaling operations.
Meanwhile, the labor department provided a package of livelihood assistance amounting to P914,000 to the 38 fishermen workers who have filed complaints against master fisherman, Andrew Labao, and the Pesca.
The assistance offered will ensure they will not engage in paaling, Sarcauga said.
The package will be funded by Integrated Services Livelihood Assistance, a project for marginal fisher folk in fishing communities, under the DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood Assistance Program.*RG
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