SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said marine and coastal resources are underutilized, and called for proper management of the sector known as the “blue economy.”
In a news conference Monday, Mr. Pernia said that the country needs to pay more attention to the “blue economy” since these resources are currently “undertapped, underexploited and underused.”
“We have a paper, when I was dean at UP (University of Philippines)… our estimate was over a trillion pesos could be reaped from tapping the blue economy and that’s a very conservative estimate,” he said.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Adoracion M. Navarro said access to maritime resources is suboptimal and even the boundaries are not clearly defined by the current law.
“That’s why we are also including this in the legislative agenda to give our fisherfolk and commercial investors clearer guidelines on how to optimize the use of our resources,” Ms. Navarro said.
Amid competing claims, Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon added that a law that provides clear guidelines on the country’s water territories will help provide proper documentation that can be used in future territorial encroachments.
“Our problem is that because there’s no general declaration of what our territories are, so you have some encroachment, being done by our neighbors. So we claim that is an encroachment but actually we don’t have it in writing. We don’t have any documents that say this is actually ours. Definitely not part of the contested territories, but it’s actually really ours, but that has to be written, it has to be documented. The bill has been filed at the committee on foreign affairs,” Ms. Edillon said.
Former Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV filed in the 17th Congress Senate Bill 93, “An act defining the maritime zones of the Republic of the Philippines” and Senate Bill 92, a measure seeking to establish archipelagic sea lanes in Philippine waters.
The two bills are yet to be refiled with the current Congress. — Beatrice M. Laforga