A balanced and healthy ecology is needed to protect the nation’s marine wealth and exclusive economic zone.
Assistant Majority Leader and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar said this as she pushed for the approval a measure that seeks to adopt a sustainable national integrated coastal management.
Villar, a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP), filed House Bill (HB) No. 3315 that aims to create a National Coordinating Committee on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) to formulate, institute and implement the country’s national policy on coastal management aimed at ensuring the sustainable development of the coastal and marine environment and resources.
The proposed National ICM through the help of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will also “grant incentives to local government units that exhibit exemplary performance in the development and implementation of their respective local integrated coastal management plans.”
She underscored the passage of the measure to overcome the challenges
of falling fish populations, rising pollution levels, continued threats on coral reefs and mangrove forests, coastal communities experiencing increased poverty, among other things.
“These challenges are winnable. We should just strengthen further the country’s campaign on coastal management efforts to reverse the situation. The coordination and support of local government units to national government is very crucial to effect an integrated coastal management, especially on fisheries and habitat protection efforts,” Villar explained.
Villar said coastal environments encompass different ecosystems such as shore lands, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs that are very important to the livelihood of the people, tourism and country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Under the measure, the National Coordinating Committee shall exercise and perform the following powers and functions: formulate, adopt, institutionalize and amend, if necessary, the National ICM Framework; identify ICM management areas such as bays, lakes, gulfs, river basins, watersheds, wetlands, protected areas, and other resources that are shared by two or more provinces; resolve conflicts arising from ICM between or among provinces; and recommend to Congress for enactment of legislations or to the appropriate government agency for issuance of policies.
The bill provides that the National ICM Framework shall include the following components of the framework for sustainable development of coastal areas: goals and objectives; strategies and action plans; required policy or legislation; information and public awareness campaign; financing mechanisms; and capacity building and National ICM Training Program..