May 06, 2020 Wednesday
MANILA 7 MAY 2020 – In observance of the Month of the Ocean this May, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda renewed her call for authorities and citizens to help in the sustainable management and conservation of marine life and resources to protect them from unsustainable human activities.
“We rely so much on our oceans for our food, livelihood, and other daily needs, but we have been neglecting our ocean’s health. Plastic pollution, overfishing, waste dumping, oil spills, dynamite fishing, and other destructive human practices are killing the life in our oceans. I once again urge our authorities to enforce our laws to save our marine biodiversity, ecosystems, and habitats from further destruction,” Legarda said.
Legarda, who authored the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, said that proper waste management practices, including the segregation of garbage at source and segregated transportation, processing, treatment, and proper disposal of solid waste, should be implemented by all local governments and households to prevent trash from going into our seas.
She also mentioned that she also filed House Bill No. 635, which seeks to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and use of single-use plastic products, as well as provide penalties, levies, and incentives for industries, business enterprises, and consumers.
Legarda also said that this year’s theme for Ocean’s Month is “Para sa Tao: Protected Areas for a Protected Future,” which aims to provide deeper appreciation and understanding on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and their environmental, social, and cultural benefits to the people.
A Protected Area is defined as “portions of land and/or water set aside by reason of their unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human exploitation.” Of the 244 Protected Areas in the Philippines, 35 are Marine Protected Areas.
Legarda, who is the principal author of Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 (ENIPAS), also underscored the importance of Protected Areas in ensuring food security in the country.
“This Month of the Ocean, may we all work together to bring our oceans and marine life back to their pristine state. Let us correct our ways and adopt responsible fishing practices that support ecological balance. Let us do our part in ensuring our future generations can also benefit from the resources we currently enjoy from our oceans,” Legarda concluded.