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CONG. HAGEDORN, NAIS IDEKLARA BILANG MARINE PROTECTED AREA ANG MGA LUGAR SA PALIGID NG KALAYAAN ISLAND GROUP, SCARBOROUGH SHOAL

Ni Vivian R. Bautista

NAGHAIN ng isang panukalang batas (House Bill No. 6373) si Palawan 3rd District Rep. Edward S. Hagedorn upang ideklara bilang Marine Protected Area (MPA) ang mga lugar sa paligid ng Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), Scarborough Shoal.

Sa paghahain ng panukalang batas, tinuran ng kongresista na ang pangangalaga sa kapaligiran at mga likas na yaman sa West Philippine Sea (WPS) kabilang ang mga atoll, coral reef, at iba pang mahahalagang yamang dagat ay dapat umanong unahin ng gobyerno, base sa inilabas na impormasyon mula sa kanyang Official Facebook Page.

“We must learn to cooperate as one region in the protection of our natural resources while we settle the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea. The protection of the rich marine resources and environment of the West Philippine Sea is a shared interest and responsibility of all adjoining states around the South China Sea which should be a guiding policy for all of us in the region,” ani Cong. Hagedorn.

Ang nasabing panukalang batas ay para sa pagdedeklara ng lahat ng low-tide elevations at high-tide features, at isang lugar na three (3) nautical miles sa paligid ng mga nasabing isla.

“We all stand to gain or to lose depending on the outcome of our collective actions while we settle our territorial disputes. Through this bill, we hope for the Philippines to help initiate and spark this regional cooperation,” dagdag pa niya.

Binanggit sa panukalang batas ang Republic Act (RA) No. 11038 o ang Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 at ang 2016 Arbitral Ruling na pabor sa Pilipinas sa hangaring ideklara ang nasabing mga lugar bilang MPA.

“A hectare, or about 2.5 acres, of reef can produce a potential value of approximately US $350,000 a year. The coral reefs in the Spratlys, which serve as the breeding ground of fish in the South China Sea, comprise 34 percent of the world’s total coral reefs, despite the South China Sea occupying only 2.5 percent of the world’s total ocean and sea surface,” it read.

“As such, the South China Sea is one of the richest marine areas in the world which is the home to diverse marine ecosystems with over 3,000 species of fish and 600 species of coral reef,” it added.

Binanggit din ng paliwanag na tala ng isang 2012 na pag-aaral ni Rudolf de Groot, et. Al., na nagsasaad na ang mga coral reef ay “single most valuable ecosystem.”

Samantala, si Palawan 1st District Rep. Edgardo Salvame at Palawan 2nd Rep. Jose Chavez Alvarez ay co-authored ng House Bill No. 6373.

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