The Senate today passed on third and final reading 10 bills seeking to establish fish hatcheries and mariculture development parks in several provinces nationwide.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, said the approval of the bills would help increase the income of fisherfolk who, together with farmers, remain among the poorest in our country.
“I believe that the proposed bills of our esteemed colleagues at the House of Representatives will really contribute to the growth and development of the fisheries sector and allied industries in their respective cities and municipalities,” Villar said in her sponsorship speech.
Latest study on the poverty statistics for basic sectors showed that fishermen posted the highest poverty incidence for nine basic sectors in the Philippines at 41.4 percent. The incidence level for fisherman had remained unchanged or on the same level as in 2006, the same study said.
“Agriculture contributes over 10 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and fisheries contribute between 15 percent to 18 percent to the agriculture sector. The fisheries sector also provides direct and indirect employment to over one million Filipino people,” Villar said.
House Bill Nos. (HBN)1948, 4432, 5645, 5650, 6086 and 6085 are proposing to establish breeding farms and hatcheries for groupers, prawns, lobsters, crabs and other high-value marine species in Bantayan, Cebu, the municipalities of Dapa, Del Carmen, Socorro, and Pilar in Surigao del Norte; Lingig in Surigao del Sur; Barangay Ata-Atahon, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte; Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte and Jose Dalman in Zamboanga del Norte. On the other hand, HBN 5652 aims to establish a prawn, crab and inland fish nursery in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat while HBN 5651 aims to establish an aquatic research and experimental breeding station for lake, river, and other inland fishes in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.
HBN 4458 seeks to establish mariculture development parks in the municipalities of Virac, Bato, Baras, Gigmoto, Viga, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, San Andres, Caramoran, and Pandan in Catanduanes while HBN 6088 seeks to establish a research, training, development and product centers in Southern Leyte; Biliran, Eastern Samar, Samar and Northern Samar. (Olivia Caunan)