We urge the President to require a very strong monitoring, control and surveillance system for our fishing grounds and waters to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. With two thirds of our fishing grounds on the verge of collapsing, a no-nonsense enforcement of our Fisheries Code, as amended, is a must.
Likewise, we expect him to include in the priority legislative measures the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. At the rate the destruction of our fisheries and marine biodiversity is going and with the worsening poverty and hunger among the coastal and fisherfolk communities, we believe that an independent cabinet portfolio, separate from the Department of Agriculture is urgent. Let us help our oceans recover to secure the livelihood of our poor artisanal fisherfolk and the needed protein requirements of Filipinos from our otherwise rich marine resources.
It is also alarming that the Philippines ranks as the world’s third worst plastic polluter in our oceans. We should not rest on this negative reputation when we know we can very well reverse this record. We urge the President to order the National Solid Waste Management Commission to list single-use plastic in the list of the Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products and Packaging which it is mandated to release, since 2002.
We expect the President to certify as urgent the bills on the banning of single-use plastics.
We owe this to our children who will inherit a world not worth living if we continue to ignore the plea to restore it. (END)