The Department of Agriculture said it is proud of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) achievements, foremost of which is the swift removal of the yellow card imposed on the Philippines by the European Union, proof of our fast action in accordance with international regulations against Illegal, Unreported Unregulated Fishing or IUUF.
Even President Benigno Aquino III, in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address, specifically lauded the BFAR for the swift reaction to the yellow card warning which, if not corrected, could have escalated to a trade sanction banning the Philippines from exporting fisheries products to the European Union, one of its biggest markets.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said, the BFAR is also spearheading the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Fisheries Code as Amended by Republic Act 10654.
“We are hoping that by September the IRR will be complete so that we could effectively implement the law against IUUF,” Alcala said.
The Secretary added, to strengthen the country’s fishery law enforcement, BFAR has thoroughly trained fishery law enforcers.
From four fishery law enforcers for the entire country in 2010, the Philippines now has 188 who have undergone a training course conducted by Philippine National Police and Philippine Military Academy personnel and community organizers.
“Three of those who were trained were among those who accosted poachers in Batanes in May,” Alcala said.
More than 1.5 million fisherfolk have already been registered in the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (FishR), which is now being crossmatched with the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Fisherfolk listed on both registries will be automatically qualified for Philhealth coverage.
The fisherfolk database has also been crossmatched with the Department of Budget and Management’s Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA). Fisherfolk whose names appear on both lists will be able to avail of free full insurance bundle by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
The Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation (TARGET) in the Fishery Sector that aims to reduce poverty incidence in the sector by 4% is also being implemented.
To support the post-harvest requirement of sustenance farmers, government has established 13 municipal fish ports, ice plants and cold storage for 25,323 fisherfolk from 2011 to 2014.
At present, there are 50 municipal fishports, ice plants and cold storage facilities in various stages of development.
“Let us look for ways to further enrich and protect our fisheries and marines resources,” Alcala said.
He, added, there is a need to review the current Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan or CNFIDP to determine if it still meets present challenges. (DA-OSEC)
Posted by: Lynne Pingoy