Philippine Senate

Stop Exploitation Of Marine Life, Says Senator

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AS the world celebrated Earth Day last April 22, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call to protect marine biodiversity and preserve the country’s ecosystems.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the country’s natural resources, especially those within our seas, are crucial to the survival of Filipinos, especially that the Philippines is an archipelago.

“We are fortunate to have been blessed with abundant natural resources. In fact, we are one of the 17 megadiverse countries, home to majority of Earth’s species. Unfortunately, we are also one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of species that are endangered or threatened with extinction,” she lamented.

“The Philippines also has one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems, characterized by extensive coral reefs, sea-grass beds and dense mangroves. But despite this richness in marine resources, about 3.9 million families still experienced hunger in the last quarter of 2013 and many of those living in coastal communities remain poor with 4 of 10 coastal residents living under poverty line,” she added.

“We must all work, in our own and simple yet big and determined steps, to help resuscitate our ailing environment. Let us turn away from extractive and consumptive way of living and strive to make a positive impact on our natural resources—may it be by saving on fuel, energy and water consumption, recycling, proper solid waste management or growing trees,” Legarda said.

“We must put an end to the exploitation and exportation of corals as well as the fishing and taking of any rare, threatened and endangered species. Our fishermen should stop the use of fine mesh net, explosives and other poisonous substance in our seas,” she added.

Last April 22, the Senator launched a video documentary on Philippine marine biodiversity to raise awareness on the current condition of the country’s marine life and underwater resources.

The project is a collaboration with award-winning director Brillante Mendoza, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Information Agency.

The documentary features marine videos from underwater videographer Robert “Bobbit” Suntay and his fellow videographers Jan Acosta, Boogs Rosales and Wowie Wong from the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI).

“We celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 and we are reminded to nurture our planet which abundantly provides us with the resources we need to survive. We are encouraged to strengthen our commitment to save the Earth and contribute to the sustainability of our nation,” Legarda said, in concluding her speech.

The senator also warned that neglecting our marine resources can result to hunger and poverty for millions of Filipinos. “Its (marine ecosystem) destruction affects the livelihood of coastal communities, our food supply, our tourism and our economy.”

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A Bad Reflection

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Editorial

The latest tirade of Senator Serge Osmeña III thrown against The Philippine President and his cabinet does not bode well of his stature as senator. This can be likened to a man uttering vindictives to a reflection in a mirror.

When there is a remiss in governance by government officials, it is construed as a failure in legislation. The legislature in any society performs the important function of deliberating policies for the people and passing them in the form of statutes- statutes that govern any act of the three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. These are all provided in the Constitution. Any act that is not within the purview of the Constitution is deemed unconstitutional.

This function of making or enacting laws is vested in the legislative branch of government. This branch is composed of The Lower House and the Upper House that do legislation and these laws are a guide to all functions and functionalities of government. The legislative act is a formal written enactment produced by a legislature or by a legislative process.

Senator Osmeña being a member of the Senate is also to blame in the malfunctioning of government. The economy will fail and basic services jeopardized not only because the President is not a good manager but also basic governance guidelines were not enacted into laws.

The power mess is a good example of a problem that has emanated from a flawed Electric Power Industry Reform Act that can be traced to the wheeling and dealing of those in the Legislature which Senator Osmeña is a member. Has he done something to amend these flaws? What is he Chairman of the Energy Committee of the Senate for?