House OKs bills deregulating bamboo; regulating sale of sharks, rays, chimeras
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to classify bamboo as an unregulated forest product, as well as a proposed law seeking to regulate the catching and sale of sharks, rays, and chimeras.
The chamber voted 176 to 0 to approve House Bill No. 6625 that seeks to promote the development of the Philippine bamboo industry.
Once the bill is enacted into law, bamboo stems, whether planted or grown naturally in forest lands or private lands, would be deregulated, meaning the harvest or transport of it will no longer require a permit from any government agency.
The bill also seeks to grant incentives to bamboo plantations and includes these in the Investment Priorities Plan of the government.
Meanwhile, HB 8926, approved on final reading by a vote of 174-0, seeks to regulate the catching, sale, purchase, possession, transportation, importation, and exportation of all sharks, rays, and chimeras nationwide.
HB 8926, principally authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, aims to address the extinction of marine wildlife and achieve a balance between human needs and the integrity of the Philippine marine ecosystem.
The proposed law bars any person or entity from possessing a shark unless proven that they have the financial and technical capability and facility to maintain it.
The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, meanwhile, has to determine the non-detriment findings (NDFs) or the risk assessment for targeted and incidentally caught shark species, under the bill.
With this, the collection and possession of shark, ray, and chimera species will only be allowed when the results of the NDF show that, despite the extent of species collection, the population of such can still remain viable and capable of recovering its numbers.
The proposed measure further seeks to declare as unlawful the killing, keeping captive, and trading vulnerable, threatened, endangered, or critically endangered species, except when it is done as part of the rituals of established tribal groups or indigenous cultural communities, when the shark is afflicted with an incurable or communicable disease, or when it is killed after being used in authorized research or experiments.
Other illegal acts specified in the bill include the following:
- inflicting an injury that impairs the reproductive system of sharks
- disturbing sharks and their habitats
- falsely advertising or mislabeling products that could mislead consumers
- introducing, reintroducing, or restocking of shark species without permits
- use of shark wires
Persons who kill, harass, or inflict injury on a critically endangered species will be slapped with imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years, as well as a fine of P100,000 up to P1 million per animal. /atm
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