Fishery Law Enforcers undergo 90-day 'military' training

Fifty one personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) were designated as fishery law enforcers upon graduating from a three-month course on the National Capability-Building for Fishery Law Enforcers.

From this number, four of them were from BFAR-Cordillera Administrative Region. They were Arnulfo Taberna, Jr., Crisente Gayang, Junior Cesar Martinez, and Dennis de Vera. Mr. Taberna and Mr. Gayang bested the rest of the trainees for getting a spot on the top five and top ten, respectively. Mr. Gayang was also given the Marksmanship Award for garnering a perfect grade of 100% during the practical marksmanship examinations.

The training course was consisted of two parts. The first part was the transition period which lasted for 30 days. During this period, the participants were indoctrinated on discipline, conduct and values, basic tactical training, and strenuous physical training. The second part was the 60-day training on the BFAR operations and protocols, fishery law, aquatic protection, shipboard operations and practicum, advance tactical training, water search and rescue, field training exercises, and physical development program.

Atty. Asis G. Perez, National Director and concurrent Undersecretary for Fisheries, said that through this effort, BFAR will increase the number law enforcers to 700. They will then be deployed to the country's major fishing areas to attain sustainable fisheries management and services and to address the prevalent issue on illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing.

The three month-long course started on January 3, 2015, where a total of 53 candidates from all over the country reported for the second batch. The candidates took their oath seven days after entry, signalling the official start of the 90-day rigid and intense boot camp training. The training adopted the Philippine Military Academy course which was compressed into a three-month course.

Apart from physical trainings, fisheries-related lectures were also conducted such as Fish Examination, Mammal stranding, water quality monitoring, taxonomy, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), penal provisions of RA 8550, fish kill investigation, project proposal preparation, the basics in apprehensions, evidence gathering and preservation, including preparation of necessary papers and necessary attachments for the prosecution of violation of fishery laws.

Tactical courses on surveillance, background investigation, security survey and investigation, community relations, land navigation, marine navigation and map reading, radio communications, marine communications, basic life support, emergency responses for fire and flood disasters, water search and rescue (WASAR), and survival of life at sea (SOLAS) were also discussed.

Trainings on Gun Safety and Marksmanship, firing of 0.9mm caliber Jericho, and M-4 automatic rifle, Ropesmanship training such as knot tying, knot tying under water, rope crawls, and rappelling were included. Life-saving swimming activities were also undertaken as part of boosting self-esteem and endurance.

Several fun run activities that comprised of 32-kilometer Company run, 16-kilometer Platoon run, 8-kilometer Squad run, and 2-kilometer buddy run was also included.

The trainees also visited the Sangley Point in Cavite, home of the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, the Marines, and the Navy Special Operations Group (SOG).

Facilities used by the trainees also included that of the Close Quarter Combat (CQB) and the Obstacle Course drills. Lectures and practical exercises on basic boat operation and ship boarding procedure were done simultaneously. After which, the trainees individually drove the BFAR patrol boats, including the BFAR Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) Patrol Boat, circling Manila Bay to Corregidor Island.

The trainings were facilitated by the BFAR-FLE-Quick Response Team, the different division heads and staff of the BFAR-Central Office, representatives from environmental NGO's, and the training directorate composed of retired uniformed personnel from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Navy Sea, Air, and Land (Seal), and Scout Rangers.

The FLECC training for the 2nd batch officially ended on April 12, 2015 at BFAR-National Brackishwater Fisheries Technology Center (NBFTC) in Sitio Iringan, Palsabangon, Pagbilao, Quezon.