There is so much said about corruption in the Philippines and sadly much of it is a flat out lie. Recently I wrote an article about fishing in the Philippines. While researching this I didn’t find a lot of help. What I did find though is an example of an expat that might be fishing illegally said some things that were false. He then post several videos about corruption in the Philippines.
He has three videos that I found on YouTube about his troubles. It seems that the Philippines navy shot his boats to bits. Also local fishermen appear to be taking fish from his nets. Why would this be happening? Because only Filipino can fish commercially in the Philippines.
It appears he knew that there would be trouble if he left the port. The navy vessel was parked there at the dock. He was filming and he did not board his fishing vessel before it left. It departed without him but with his wife and crew on board.
He says in the video or the text that he and his wife acquired this boat from their savings and then moved to the Philippines. I don’t know where he acquired it. Fishing vessels must be purchased in the Philippines but special permission can be granted to bring one from outside of the Philippines.
He also makes a major issue of the officials not identifying themselves. He is correct that the law states that official can board the boat but must identify themselves. How they do that is not specified. He went on and on about how they did not show him ID’s so therefor the implication is corruption.
He also says that the coast guard should take this action. That is not true. The law clearly gives the navy authorization to take this type of action.
I don’t know what transpired before this event but since the navy ship was docked at the port and followed it a little ways out to sea before firing upon it, clearly something happened before this. There is also video of where he seems to be saying that Filipino fishermen are taking fish from his nets. A strong indication that there was not trouble before this incident.
Why would they do that? I don’t know exactly but I suspect they thought he was stealing their fish. Since it is illegal for a foreigner to fish the waters of the Philippines, I can see their point. The fishing industry is in trouble in the Philippines. The catches are smaller. There has been overfishing in the past, heavy use of chemicals to kill fish and dynamite fishing. All of which is still going on to a lessor extent than it use to be.
With local fisherfolk (the official term used in the Philippines) struggling to make a profit it isn’t surprising that they would resent this action by a foreigner. When he was on the dock filming, there appeared to be resentment from the locals toward him. That old two wrongs don’t make a right would come into play but people are human and their actions are not surprising.
I don’t know if he was breaking the law. I don’t know who officially owned the boat. If he owned even half of it, then the fishing was illegal. There are ways for foreigners to have a stake in fishing operations but they must be owned 60% by Filipinos.
The officials of the Philippines are not stupid. They often go after foreigners operating businesses in their wife’s name. They refer to this as “dummies.” There is a lot of common sense applied toward the law in the Philippines. That is a good thing but it also means that the intent of the law is more important than the letter of the law.
I know several of the statements he made as I understood them were not accurate. It appears he had been warned in some way yet he continued to do exactly what he wanted rather than take any legal action necessary to correct the problem. Then he makes claims of corruption.
My point in all of this is that many cry foul and corruption when they choose to live in the Philippines. Criminals often do this. Sometimes it is more of a case of foreigners not understanding the ways and laws of the Philippines. Sometimes it is, in fact, corruption. However, you can’t take these claims at face value. They are rarely accurate. They are more likely to be the egotistical rantings of an individual that considers himself above Filipinos and can do what he pleases.
Yes, of course there is corruption in the Philippines. There may very well be more in business operations than I know about because I have no personal experience with that. I hear many claims but since I hear so many false claims, I just don’t know what to think of it. One case I’m pretty sure has happened, I know of people that have had to pay employees extra money to get an Internet connection. I know of others that didn’t have that issue.
The issue with corruption in the Philippines is grossly overstated. I’m not sure what happened in the past. It may have been as bad as the stories I hear. I have no way of knowing. I know I won’t accept any of the things I’ve heard as true. I won’t say for sure they are false. What I will say is that no one has tried to extort money from me. No official in the Philippines has treated me poorly and then asked for cash. I’ve been treated well by all. Officials can be a little cold in their interactions but that seems to be common in the USA too. When dealing with the public, it can be the best way to present yourself in order to keep your job.
I’ve had zero trouble with any form of corruption in the Philippines yet I hear so many that are afraid of it. That should not be a concern. It is highly unlikely that you as a tourist will ever run into any problems with the law unless you do things that put you in jeopardy of running afoul of the law.
Filed under: Crime In The Philippines
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