Sunday, November 10, 2013
MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is set to address the 300 leaders of the country’s dentistry profession as the keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) and House of Delegates' Midyear Session, to be held on November 11/Monday, 1pm, at the Manila Hotel.
Drilon's speech will focus mostly on the government's healthcare programs, the issues confronting the health sector, and as well as the reforms needed to further advance the health condition of Filipinos in line with the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
The Senate chief is also expected to explain briefly the pork barrel controversy now hounding the Philippine Congress before the 300 delegates representing more than 99 constituent chapters and 25 affiliates of the PDA nationwide, along with members of the PDA Executive Board, and former presidents of the said dental association.
Also expected to be in attendance are the officers of the PDA House of Delegates (HOD), past HOD Speakers, deans of various dental colleges in the country, along with representatives from the Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) Board of Dentistry.
With this year’s theme of “Intensifying Professionalism”, Drilon is expected to discuss the vital role of the nation’s political and medical sectors in delivering services that can uplift the country’s condition.
The Senate chief will also comment on the issues confronting the dentistry profession in the country today, especially on the impact of the Mutual Recognition Agreement, which will facilitate the mobility of dental services professional within the South-East Asian region starting in 2015.
The Philippine Dental Association is a non-stock organization founded in 1908 to form a strong national organization of dentists in the country; it has since then made various efforts to promote better dental health nationwide, and as well as to enhance the integrity of the dental profession.
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda has filed a measure that will intensify the government’s drive in preserving the Verde Island Passage, which is a source of livelihood to millions of Filipinos, a vital passageway, and a national heritage that is teeming with unique marine species.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is proposing the declaration of Verde Island Passage, as a Marine Protected Area and Ecological Tourism Zone.
“We must ensure the sustainable use of the resources of the Verde Island Passage and considering its economic potential, there is an urgent need for the government and other stakeholders to coordinate their efforts towards the conservation of this national heritage,” she said.
The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor is a 1.14 million hectare stretch of water along portions of the provinces of Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon. It is located right in the middle of the Coral Triangle and with the highest concentration of marine species in any region of the world.
Legarda noted that a 2005 joint study by marine biologists from the World Conservation Union and the Smithsonian Institute of the United States revealed that the Verde Island Passage is believed to be the “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity in the world”.
The same study also revealed that, despite existing laws, illegal fishing and unregulated shipping lanes still persist in the area, and that the continued degradation of its marine habitat could possibly lead to the extinction of species.
“The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor is an important source of livelihood for over 7 million people who engage in fishing, aquaculture and tourism, among others. It likewise provides important passageway for both commercial and industrial ships travelling from Manila or Batangas going to the southern parts of the country and vice versa. It is a vital resource for the country but we must not abuse it,” Legarda explained.
On November 8, 2006, Executive Order No. 578 was issued to create a Task Force on Verde Island Passage to ensure the protection, conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity in the Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor and the formulation of the Verde Island Passage Management Plan.
Despite this intervention, the area remains under threat from over-exploitation and possible oil spills and other contaminants from industries located along the port of Batangas, and by climate change, as well.
The proposed Verde Island Passage Act will create a Verde Island Passage Advisory Council (VIPAC) that shall formulate policies and regulations to ensure its protection, conservation and sustainable use. A Master Plan shall be prepared by the Council, which contains mechanisms and management strategies to ensure participatory decision-making among concerned local government officials and agencies.