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114 Views· 16 March 2024

Red Zones - World’s Toughest Places | Philippines - The Dark Side of the Sea | Free Documentary

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Red Zones: Philippines - The Dark Side of the Sea

No-Go Zones - All Episodes: https://www.youtube.com/playli....st?list=PLLgqOez346Z

In the remote coastal communities of the Southern Philippines, illegal economies and practices are fueling environmental conflict and threatening one of the world’s most unique and endangered marine ecosystems.

Porous sea borders and weak governance coupled with rising economic hardship are pushing more and more people into an underworld that is profiting from the riches of the sea. An extensive criminal network is exploiting vulnerable coastal communities through illegal activities such as the smuggling of endangered wildlife and subaquatic gold mining. However, on Palawan Island, former fishermen have created their own PARA Enforcers unit which sets out to patrol and confront illegal fishing crews which are a vital part of the supply chain for wildlife traffickers. Led by Efren Balladeres, the group which is staffed by volunteers risk their lives to catch fishers in the act. But with huge profits being generated from cross border wildlife smuggling, the work of Efren’s team is becoming increasingly dangerous.

In southern Leyte, an environmental conflict left over from the country’s colonial legacy is destroying the coastline. Subaquatic gold mining is practised by most men of working age in the impoverished town of Pinut-an. Many of the divers who were once fishermen now mine gold on the seabed floor because there are no more fish left in the region. This underwater El Dorado poses many hazards. Miners risk death as they free dive to as deep as 60 feet to plunder boulders and rocks in underwater tunnel systems in search of the precious metal. Due to its archipelagic formation, the Philippines remains difficult for authorities to achieve complete surveillance over its far reaching southern provinces. In the remote region of Tawi Tawi, the final gateway before the sea border with Malaysia, the Marines and Maritime Police are struggling to close the smuggling and trafficking corridors that flow through the area to reach international waters.

With unfiltered access, this film delves into the hidden corners of the sea in areas of the Philippines off the well trodden path of tourists and visitors. As competition for resources on land intensifies, more and more people are turning to the sea with exploits which are harder to police and trace. This film will offer audiences a rare glimpse into this last untamed frontier at a critical time when our seas are in the greatest need of protection.
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