CONFLICTS between fisherfolk from Carnaza Island in Daanbantayan, Cebu, and the town of Esperanza in Masbate for the last 20 years may soon be put to rest, as the two local governments are set to sign a Town Twinning Agreement to resolve fishing disputes.

La Manok Island, locally known as Manok Manok Island, is geographically located in the Visayan Sea between Cebu and Masbate.

Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura told SunStar Cebu that the town’s key officials met with the delegation of Esperanza on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, to discuss the possibility of achieving a common fishing ground and creating a joint development task force that will identify Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the island.

Esperanza Mayor Fernando Talisic initially sent a letter to Shimura on Oct. 27 informing him about the Town Twinning Agreement and that a delegation to be led by Vice Mayor Rodolfo Pepito hopes to share experiences and resources, enhance trade relationships, share best practices and other possibilities that may be beneficial to both local government units.

Shimura expressed his gratitude for the leadership of Mayor Talisic since the issue has been unresolved for decades and has affected the livelihood of local fishermen.

Shimura said the officials of Esperanza mentioned that they had the papers to prove their jurisdiction over the island but they had also attested that La Manok Island is a historical fishing ground of the fisherfolk coming from Carnaza Island.

“Our only request is to let the island of La Manok become a common fishing ground for fisherfolk from Esperanza and Carnaza,” said Shimura.

“Daanbantayan will act as a Big Brother to Esperanza since we are a first-class municipality,” he added.

The mayor also said Daanbantayan will offer a group of technical divers that will assess the location that can be declared as MPA, snorkeling and diving spots.