Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for the establishment of a government agency solely dedicated to uphold the interests of Filipino fisher folk and to protect the country’s marine and aquatic resources.
Cayetano filed Senate Bill No. 1437, a measure seeking to create a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR), which would give the nation’s fishery sector a more focused attention.
The legislator said for a country surrounded by water, and with fishery as one of the Filipinos’ major sources of livelihood, the proper management of our aquatic resources should be given a priority.
Citing statistics from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the lawmaker said the fishing industry offers employment to more than one million Filipinos. In 2014, the country ranked 8th among the top fish producing countries in the world with its total production of 4.7 million metric tons of aquatic resources.
But despite the industry’s significant contributions to Philippine economy, the inadequate attention provided by government had led to a decrease in our fisheries production since 2014, the senator lamented.
“While we have very good people in the Department of Agriculture, the department’s focus is more on land-based farming. It is time that the government provides for a focused, single-minded, specialized department responsive to the needs and concerns of the fisheries industry,” he noted.
“(T)here is a need to create the DFAR in order to strengthen the institutional capacities of BFAR as the primary policy and regulatory body on fisheries and aquatic resources. (It) will serve public purpose, efficiency, and the best interest of the industry,” he added.
Cayetano said the creation of the department will be a step forward in the government’s plan to better protect, utilize, maximize, and conserve the nation’s marine resources. It will also greatly contribute to the administration’s goal of upholding the best interests of Filipino fisher folk, he added.