BFAR-8 Director Atty. Asis Perez.
BFAR-8 Director Atty. Asis Perez.

TACLOBAN CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) — The government is acquiring 71 long-range patrol boats to beef up maritime protection efforts up to high seas.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez said they expect the delivery of 42-footer boats next year, expanding its current fleet of 100. Each unit costs PHP1.2 million.

Earlier, BFAR deployed to provinces the 71 short-range boats manned by newly-trained maritime law enforcers. As of this month, 290 enforcers have been trained by BFAR in Quezon province for deployment nationwide.

“For these new boats, we will be the one to operate these since many local government units have no capability to maintain it,” Perez told journalists from provinces during a media conference on the newly-amended Fisheries Code in Manila.

The official claimed that only during the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III that marine protection efforts in the country have been stepped up. From PHP1.8 billion budget in 2010, the fisheries bureau got PHP6.6 outlay this year.

“Our country has eight times more sea area than land area. We have 36,000 kilometers of coastline and over 7,100 islands. We are a maritime nation and we have to act like one,” he added.

These new boats will be able to go further out to high seas to arrest poachers in disputed waters. (PNA)