Friday, June 3, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, June 3, 2011-In the recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who is a former Secretary of Agriculture urged the government for the creation of elite enforcers who will be tasked to protect the country’s aquatic territory.
Angara explained that the country’s archipelago is one of the richest, most bio-diverse and extensive coastal areas in the world but we don’t possess enough resources to protect it where poaching exotic corals and wildlife has become a very lucrative business around the world, saying that the destruction of rare flora and fauna has already caused un-repairable damage to the country’s marine ecosystems.
He said that the country has very good laws against poaching and other destructive activities but insufficient in manpower and technical resources to police our huge territory, adding that the national coast guard cannot provide all the manpower needed; thus, Angara suggested that there is a need to tap the local government units or LGUs to train their own bantay-dagat teams to serve as the guardians of the sea.
“They already established bantay-dagat and maybe we can establish an elite force among these ranks who will be dedicated in enforcing our marine laws,” Angara said.
“I urged the government to act fast and be more proactive on this matter, adding that the destruction of our country’s rich natural heritage is a race against time, which we may have already lost,” he said, calling on concerned government agencies to work together to solve and to mitigate a national problem.
Angara said that to channel their efforts into action-oriented plans and measures, there is a need for a comprehensive framework to unite all government agencies with jurisdiction over the country’s marine and aquatic resources. (Jason de Asis)
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