Earlier today, the 12 Chinese poachers caught in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park were finally brought to prison two months after the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court (RTC) found them guilty of violating the RA 10067 or the Tubbataha Act of 2009.
On 19 September 2014, Judge Ambrosio De Luna of RTC Branch 51 issued a court order instructing the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to send the 12 convicted Chinese nationals to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, a low security prison facility located 41 km from the center of Puerto Princesa City.
It was recalled that the convicted poachers, who were under the custody of the BID availed of provisional liberty last year and were detained in a rented residence until today.
The boat captain will face the maximum punishment of 12 years of imprisonment while the other 11crew members will serve six to 10 years of imprisonment. Additionally, the Court also ordered each of the convicted poachers to pay a $100,000 fine.
On 15 August, the Regional Trial Court Branch 51 issued an order granting the Provincial Government of Palawan the beneficial custody of the 500-gross ton Chinese fishing vessel, F/V Min Ping Yu, which ran aground in Tubbataha Reefs April last year.
The said vessel has been under the custody of the Philippine Coast Guard since it was salvaged in Tubbataha last year.
In a motion filed by the Provincial Government of Palawan, they have expressed their interest in keeping the vessel, which they will use in their campaign against illegal fishing through its law enforcement program with the Provincial Philippine National Police.
Until now, no compensation has been received both for the 3,902 sqm of coral damage and the PhP7-million salvage cost.