Solon seeks coordinated management of coastal, marine resources

Published October 24, 2021, 4:35 PM

by Manila Bulletin

Bukidnon 1st District Representative Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba has sought passage of a bill that seeks to coordinate and ensure the sustainable development of coastal and marine resources of the Philippines.

Acosta-Alba has filed House Bill No. 3136 or “An Act adopting Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Management (ICEM) as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources and establishing supporting mechanisms for its implementation, and providing funds.”

The said bill is based on Executive Order No. 533 which was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 6, 2006. The EO adopts the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) as a national strategy to assure that the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources have sustainable development and are backed by support systems.

In her explanatory note on HB 3136, Acosta-Alba said the ICEM will serve as a holistic and ecological planning tool that will facilitate the management of coastal and marine resources. It will also be a system for cooperative management and intersectoral coordination, planning, and reporting at the local and national levels to address complex activities like deforestation, mining, fishing, shipping, public health, and recreation.

The bill also seeks to establish a body called the National Coordinating Committee on ICEM that will coordinate the review and implementation of the National ICEM Framework.

The said government committee will be composed of Secretaries of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Interior and Local Government, (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General, and representatives from the academe, non-government organizations (NGOs) dealing with coastal management or fisheries, private sector, fisherfolk organizations or cooperatives, and the Philippine Association of Marine Sciences.

ICEM, at the local level, will utilize the existing local development councils which will also ensure that it will now be included and accepted in the national economic planning.

As an internationally recognized coastal and marine planning tool, ICEM has produced successful pilot areas in Bataan, Guimaras, Cavite, and Batangas City.

Among the objectives of ICEM is to shift the focus of the country’s development planning from terrestrial to coastal and marine to reflect the significant contribution of such areas to the national gross domestic product (GDP), and to establish the ecological approach in managing the country’s coastal and marine environment to promote sustainable development, achieve food security, and to reduce the country’s vulnerability to impacts of Climate Change. (Melvin Sarangay)