Siquijor Local News

Special PH body to respond to 'oceans crisis' pitched

By: Robert JA Basilio,

July 13, 2013 6:14 PM


DUMAGUETE - An environmental advocacy group has asked Malacanang to create a special body tasked to respond quickly to what it considers as an "oceans crisis" that also imperils Philippine seas.

Greenpeace has submitted a proposal to President Benigno Aquino III to create an Oceans Crisis Response Team, Mark Dia, the group's regional oceans campaigner told in a text message.

"It will be composed of key cabinet members such as those from the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Agriculture, and Finance," Dia said on Friday after the group's largest vessel, the Esperanza, docked in Dumaguete.

Greenpeace representatives and campaigners have sat down and talked with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa about the matter, Dia added.

No decision has yet been made regarding the proposal, he said.

The body is expected to assess the impact of overfishing and destructive fishing in the Philippines.

Dia disclosed these details three days after the Greenpeace ship arrived in the Philippines from Bangkok, Thailand to promote awareness about threats to the country's seas.

The Esperanza refused to drop anchor when it arrived in Negros Oriental, a province in the Visayas, the Philippines' third-largest island, on Tuesday.

Its captain chose to drift between Apo Island--where Greenpeace volunteers would later check on a marine reserve--and Siquijor to ensure that it won't destroy coral formations found near the two land masses.

For two years ending 2012, two typhoons have seriously damaged 99 percent of corals on Apo Island, Greenpeace said.

While the situation is far from hopeless, the group said that the government should act now to save the corals and ensure sustainable fishing.


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