Sunday, October 26, 2014

Drilon: Senate to pass bill to prevent ban on PHL marine products

MANILA-In order to avert a possible ban by the European Union on Philippine marine and fisheries products, the Senate will approve on third reading tomorrow Monday a bill that will give more teeth to the country’s marine and fisheries laws and ensure our compliance with international conventions and standards.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that Senate Bill No. 2414, which amends the Fisheries Code, must be enacted into law by the yearend in order to help advance the country’s fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Drilon said that the country’s present laws, rules and regulations lack sufficient disincentives and sanctions against IUU fishing and is among the major issues raised by the European Union through its Directorate-General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) on its 2012 audit report on the Philippines.

Drilon added that we only have until the end of the year to address the “yellow tag” warning issued by the EU.

“Failure to act on the yellow tag and the observations made by the EU on its 2012 audit report on the Philippines may result in the blacklisting of all Philippine marine and fisheries products in the European Union market,” said Drilon.

“We must pass our amendments to the Fisheries Code before the EU puts us under ‘red flag’ which would categorize us as a non-cooperating country by failing to discharge our commitment to eliminate IUU fishing,” explained Drilon.

He said the ban will affect the fishing industry and the country’s economic growth.

“We need to strengthen our laws in order to preserve our marine and aquatic resources and protect the livelihood of our fisher folks,” Drilon stressed, noting that a 2012 study by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) shows that the local fishing industry represents 2.1% of the nation’s entire gross domestic product (GDP).

The Senate leader lauded Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, for her prompt action on the measure that will increase fines and provide a wide array of administrative penalties against IUU fishing. “The quick action taken by Sen. Villar and the Committee on Agriculture on SBN 2414 would strengthen our legal and regulatory framework against IUU fishing and would help ensure our compliance with international conventions for the conservation and management of living marine resources,” Drilon stressed.

Drilon said that intensified punitive actions against serious violations on Philippine aquatic resources will ensure that “sanctions are dissuasive and have deterrent effect.”

Under the proposed measure, a hefty fine of P2.5 million to P10 million, or twice the value of the catch, whichever is higher, will be imposed on large-scale commercial IUU fishing. For medium-scale and small-scale commercial IUU fishing, the fines will range from P250 thousand to P2 million and P50 thousand to P200 thousand, respectively.

The existing Philippine Fisheries Code only imposes fines ranging from P100 thousand to P500 thousand.

The Senate leader said that the SBN 2414 will also bolster government efforts to safeguard the local fishing industry from encroachment by foreign elements, especially intrusions by foreign poachers preying on local waters and fish supply.

“The bill will also protect local fishers from the unlawful competition presented by the wanton entry of foreign poachers who take advantage of our abundant aquatic resources,” Drilon  said, noting  the "alarming recurrence" of high-profile illegal fishing committed by fishermen from neighboring countries within the recent years.

In June of 2014, 12 Vietnamese nationals were sentenced by a Philippine court for illegal fishing near Palawan, while in 2011, 122 Vietnamese fishermen were arrested near Palawan, the biggest illegal fishing bust in recent memory. 

Legarda: Patadyong Weavers from Antique Showcase Their Craft at National Museum

MANILA-Weavers of the colorful patadyong from Antique will show how the age-old art is done in a two-day demonstration at the National Museum, said Senator Loren Legarda.

Legarda, patron of the country’s first permanent textile gallery, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino, said that weavers from Bagtason Loom Weavers Association in Bugasong, Antique are the featured craftsmen at the gallery on October 25-26, from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

“Antique is famous for its handwoven patadyong, which we usually see as a traditional costume paired with a kimona. Many might be curious how this brightly hued fabric is made. The weaving demonstration at the National Museum will show us how,” Legarda, a daughter of Antique, said. 

Patadyongs can be plain or designed with embroidery. These are usually worn as skirts, but they can also be made into shawls, handkerchiefs, scarves, table runners and many others.

“I invite Filipinos to see how our patadyong weavers from Bugasong do their craft so we can better appreciate not only the effort and skill of the weavers but also our culture and heritage,” said Legarda.

The National Museum has organized weekly weaving demonstrations at the Hiblagallery, from September to November 2014, as part of efforts to raise awareness on the culture of weaving and to ensure its continuity.

Weavers from the Cordillera Region showcased their craft last September, while weavers from Panay Island are featured in the weekends of October. Mindanao weavers will demonstrate their weaving traditions in November.

The weaving demonstrations can be viewed from 1:00-5:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, at the Hibla gallery, located at the 4th Floor of the Museum of the Filipino People, Finance Road, Manila.

“These weaving demonstrations reveal a part of our culture and we have many other weaving traditions as we see the various kinds of weaving patterns and designs in the textiles and items at the Hibla gallery. We hope that these efforts will contribute in heightening the awareness and renewing the interest of Filipinos about our culture so that we can all work together to preserve our heritage,” said Legarda.*


Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this blog do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of "THE CATHOLIC MEDIA NETWORK NEWS ONLINE".

Should the Philippine government legalize same-sex marriage?