Daanbantayan, Masbate fisherfolk share ‘La Manok Island’ fishing rights

THE long-running conflict between fisherfolk of Carnaza Island in Daanbantayan, Cebu, and the town of Esperanza, Masbate, may now be a thing of the past as the two local government units (LGUs) have agreed to recognize both their traditional fishing rights in La Manok Island.

After 20 years of fishing disputes between fisherfolk, Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura and Esperanza Mayor Fernando Talisic signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, for the preservation and sustainable development of La Manok Island, locally known as Manok Manok Island, which is geographically located in the Visayan Sea between the provinces of Cebu and Masbate.

“The MOU stipulates that the parties shall recognize the traditional fishing rights of the fisherfolks of Daanbantayan, particularly the marginal fishermen of Carnaza island and the fishermen of Esperanza,” the Daanbantayan government’s social media post read.

In November 2021, Shimura told SunStar Cebu that their only request was to let the island of La Manok become a common fishing ground for fisherfolk from Esperanza and Carnaza.

The eco-tourism activities of the island, however, will be under the direct supervision of the Municipality of Esperanza as agreed by the two LGUs pursuant to a jointly approved eco-tourism plan.

With this, all fees and other income derived from eco-tourism activities will go to Esperanza.

This, as local officials of Esperanza reportedly had papers to prove their jurisdiction over the island.

The local government of Daanbantayan will require all its resort owners to campaign for island tours as a form of support for Esperanza’s eco-tourism plans.

Daanbantayan will also provide technical assistance by training Esperanza’s personnel in the management and promotion of La Manok.

During the MOU signing, Shimura said he and Talisic shared the same mission and vision of leaving behind a legacy of unity to the people of the two municipalities.

“Kung mag mag ilog ta, dili man ni nato madala sa kamatayon ang mga butang. Pero ang magpabilin diri sa kalibutan, ang legasiya nga tungod kang Mayor Fernando ug Mayor Sun nagkahiusa ang katawhan sa duha ka lungsod (If we fight over this, we will not be able to bring things when we die. But what will remain here in the world is the legacy that because of Mayor Fernando and Mayor Sun the people of the two towns were united),” said Shimura.

The MOU signing was done in Carnaza Island and witnessed by officials from both towns.