Small fishing vessel shot at by Philippines Navy ship

The following is a story appearing in today’s edition of the Gold Star Daily , Cagayan de Oro . Interestingly enough no one in CDO is able to access the story on -line so it was copied and pasted by someone in the US .
American prepares raps vs Ruthie, Kho
By JIGGER JERUSALEM – Correspondent Updated August 25, 2009 12:00 AM
AN American and his Filipino wife yesterday threatened to file charges against Gingoog officials and law enforcers for allegedly seizing their fishing boat illegally on the waters off eastern Misamis Oriental and damaging it over a week ago.
An 8:01-minute video recording of the alleged harassment was posted on Youtube. The complainants said there are more.
Facing charges are Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona, Vice Mayor Marlon Kho, Navy and police personnel and a local fisheries officer.
Randy Stirm and his wife Cherry said their lawyer was preparing charges, possibly separate, against the officials in connection with alleged acts of harassment last Aug. 14.
Stirm claimed Navy personnel fired shots at the fishing boat FB Cherry, harassed its crew and then seized it without a warrant.
When the fishing boat was retrieved, equipment, including an expensive net, were nowhere to be found. It had bullet holes and the booms and rope work were cut, said Stirm.
The over P2-million boat was also badly damaged it would take at least P600 thousand to repair it, Stirm told The Gold Star Daily.
‘‘The boat is everything I have,’’ said Stirm. ‘‘Now, I’m penniless.’’
Stirm said the heavily armed Navy men who boarded the fishing boat did so on orders of Mayor Guingona. He said Vice Mayor Kho ‘‘was the one who was calling the shots all of the time.’’
‘‘I begged him (Kho) and told him that the boat was everything we had. I cried,’’ said Cherry. ‘‘He just said he didn’t believe me because ‘we have plenty of dollars.’’’
The Stirms said they went to city hall and asked to meet with Mayor Guingona. They said they were given the runaround instead.
‘‘She (Guingona) didn’t want to talk to us,’’ Stirm said.
Stirm also questioned the legality of the Gingoog Bay Alliance, one of the groups that allegedly
helped the Navy in confiscating the FB Cherry 1. He said the group is neither registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nor the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
A local fisheries officer identified as Genevieve Cruz was rude and refused to properly identify herself, according to Stirm. Cruz’s actions were caught on video.
Cruz and Vice Mayor Kho are allegedly closely associated with a cooperative that supposedly want to monopolize fishing in the area, said Stirm.
Stirm furnished this paper two video recordings of the alleged abuses which he also posted on Youtube. One of the recordings showed a vehicle on a wharf which allegedly belongs to Vice Mayor Kho.
For his part, Kho strongly denied involvement in the alleged Aug. 14 harassment. He claimed he was in Manila from Aug. 13 to Aug. 16.
“I had no involvement in it. The Bantay Dagat is under the office of the mayor. I was only aware of the incident because I was informed,” said Kho.
Kho also denied ever meeting the Stirms.
Maricel Jimenez, a staff member of the Gingoog city fisheries office, said officials have filed a complaint against Stirm for alleged violation of five fisheries laws: use of active gear in municipal waters and bays, unauthorized fishing, employment of unlicensed fisherfolk for a commercial fishing vessel, obstruction of law enforcement officers and violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
But Stirm has maintained that the FB Cherry operations were legal and that the accusations were all made up. He said the damaged fishing boat is registered.
‘‘They said we had firearms in the boat. Where are the guns?’’ Stirm.
He said a subpoena has yet to be received by him or his lawyer

.

Here is a follow up story regarding the Fishing Boat incident . It would seem that some sort of negotiation effort might be under way as Cagayanstar related . Maybe it’s just my connection but still can not access these stories on – line from Cagayan De Oro .
Gunmen stop Stirm, threaten to kill wife
By JIGGER JERUSALEM – Correspondent Updated August 26, 2009 12:00 AM
ARMED men yesterday threatened the American who spoke out against the alleged
abuses of government
people in Gingoog city.
The men, riding a black Honda XRM motorcycle, stopped Randy Stirm near the
Kimaya Bridge in Jasaan
town at around 7:55 am, showed a police blotter signed by PO3 Elesio Junsay and
Senior Insp.
Lorenzon Larot.
The American on Monday threatened to sue Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona, Vice
Mayor Marlon Kho, local
fisheries officer Genevieve Cruz, and Navy and police personnel over the alleged
illegal seizure of
his over P2-million fishing boat on the waters off Gingoog. He alleged that his
wife and crew were
harassed over trump-up charges of illegal fishing, and that the fishing boat was
badly damaged.
Stirm, a resident of Luz Banzon, Jasaan town, said the armed men told him: ‘‘If
you don’t make a
deal, we will kill your wife.’’
Stirm told the police the men covered their faces with bandannas and threatened
him with caliber
.45 pistols.
The police blotter showed that Stirm claimed that he was driving his Multicab
(van) and was headed
to a gas station when the armed men blocked his way.
He said he might be able to identify the men if hears their voices again.
Stirm said he was driving the van when he noticed a motorcycle tailing him. He
said he slowed down
so the motorycle could overtake.
This, he said, gave the men the chance to block his door.
Stirm said the two men pointed their guns at him with a warning that they would
kill his Filipino
wife Cherry if he rejected a ‘‘deal’’.
Stirm told The Gold Star Daily that he just replied: ‘‘Let’s see what happens.”
He said the men then sped off.
Stirm said he knew what the men meant by “deal”. During a gathering of
expatriates last week, he
said, a lawyer came to him and tried to talk him into agreeing to an
out-of-court settlement.
He said the lawyer told him to forget about the alleged injustice and in return,
his boat would be
repaired. But here’s the catch: Stirm is supposed to share his catch to those
who would repair the
fishing boat.
The American said he rejected the proposal.
Stirm has sought police protection. But Jasaan’s police chief, Insp. Larot sent
a letter to the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and asked it to see if the American could
be placed under a
protection program.
In his letter to the NBI, Larot stated: ‘‘This office referred the case of…
Stirm which occurred
particularly at Gingoog City which is not our area of responsibility and the
suspects [are] probably
residing the
reat.’’
Stirm said he was contemplating on reporting the matter to the US Embassy.
The Stirm case has caught the attention of expats in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis
Oriental and even in Cebu.
One expat wrote: ‘‘Welcome to the real business world, Philippines style. A
perfect-but-sad descant
to Mayor (Constantino) Jaraula’s message of ‘foreign business owners welcome’
that we listened to at
International Night this past Sunday… and far too illustrative an experience
for foreign small
business owners here.’’
Jaraula met with expats from this city and Misamis Oriental at Pryce Plaza last
weekend. The
‘‘International Night’’ was one of the Cagayan de Oro fiesta activities.

0 comments for “Small fishing vessel shot at by Philippines Navy ship

  1. Matt Wilkie
    August 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Havent commented on this for a reason for the last few days in the hope someone else would pickup the story. It appears the boat was fishing too close to the shoreline and in an “illegal fishing” area. Problem with this type of story is that its one sided. In reality what was the reason the boat was shot at? Did it try to run? It was fishing illegally what is worse it being impounded for doing it or if the government was doing nothing ? If you look into fishing in the Philippines there has been severe over fishing and damage to corals for over a decade. Also the fact Thai boats are fishing in the Philippines. Its a difficult  role and infact the people that took the vessel could literally have “kept” it as a seizure as stated by Philippines law.

    So personally I really dont want to say too much on this article as it seems over biast on the reporting and unfair to leave any real comment.. I sit on the fence.