VOLUME 17 | NO. 19 | 02-DECEMBER-2009
Bills to benefit local fishermen ok'd by Committee
IN LINE with the government's thrust to improve productivity in the aquaculture and fisheries sector in the different regions of the country, several bills were approved by the Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources, chaired by Representative Alfredo Marañon III (2nd District, Negros Occidental).
The measures, eleven in all, carry proposals ranging from the establishment of processing plants, research and breeding centers, fish ports and marine protected areas to the construction of pavement dryers.
House Bills 465 and 3221, respectively filed by Reps. Nur Jaafar (Tawi-Tawi) and Yusop Jikiri (1st District, Sulu), seek to establish fish processing plants in the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.
The lawmakers from Mindanao averred that the abundant supply of fishes and other marine resources in their areas necessitates the establishment of fish processing plants which will help the fishermen preserve their catch and maximize their income potentials.
With the same objectives, Reps. Jikiri and Jaafar also respectively filed HBs 3218 and 466, which seek the construction of solar fish and shrimp pavement dryers in the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
The Committee agreed that the construction of the pavement dryers shall be undertaken by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and not the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as indicated in the bills.
Another bill, HB 4918, seeks for the establishment of a marine research and breeding center in the Municipality of Jordan, Province of Guimaras.
"(The center) shall conduct continuing research and experimentation on the culture and propagation of native marine species for the purpose of improving existing technology and for maximizing income potentials of the fishing industry," the bill states.
The author of HB 4918, Rep. JC Rahman Nava of Guimaras, said that the proposed center is expected to provide the latest fishery technology that will help improve the income of local fishermen and boost the province's economy as well.
The representative of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) informed the Committee that BFAR is willing to partially fund the establishment of a marine research and breeding center in the Province of Guimaras.
BFAR's Chief Aquaculturist Marissa Albadejo added that jumpstarting the program is the bureau's way of helping the Guimaras people get back on their feet after their livelihood was greatly affected by an oil spill, which occurred a few years ago.
Similarly, HBs 1606, 4113 and 4308, authored by Reps. Arnulfo Go (2nd District, Sultan Kudarat), Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay) and Francisco Matugas (1st District, Surigao del Norte), also seek the establishment of hatcheries and breeding stations for fish, crab, prawn, shrimp and lobster in certain municipalities in the Provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay and Surigao del Norte.
The authors of the three bills said the aim is to provide abundant supply of spawners, fries and fingerlings for fisherfolk to increase the production of these high value fish and marine products.
HB 1875, also authored by Rep. Go, proposes the establishment of a fisheries and aquatic resources center in the municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat to provide technical assistance and services to the expanding fishery sector in the province.
The construction of a fish port in Abulug, Cagayan is also proposed under HB 6764, principally authored by Rep. Florencio Vargas (2nd District Cagayan).
Rep. Vargas explained that the construction of the fish port will bring about more business opportunities and provide the facilities needed to preserve the freshness of the sea products of the province.
Lawyer Rodolfo Paz Jr., Assistant General Manager of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), informed the Committee that the construction of the fish port falls under the agency. He said in order to evaluate the need for a fish port, the Municipality of Abulug will be asked to submit aggregate data on the volume of fish and aquatic resources unloaded in the area as well as the number of fishermen.
The members of the Committee agreed to the suggestion of Elsa Hilario of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) that the funding for the fish port in Abulog should be charged to the DA and not to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) as what is stated in HB 6764.
Last but not the least, HB 6824, authored by Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental), seeks to establish marine protected areas in all coastal municipalities and cities within the proximity of Guimaras Strait to ensure the development, protection and conservation of the country's marine resources.
Albadejo manifested BFAR's support for the proposal of Rep. Ferrer.