Hagedorn thankful for support on bill protecting WPS: Filipinos should rally behind it | Inquirer News

Hagedorn thankful for support on bill protecting WPS: Filipinos should rally behind it

/ 12:25 AM January 27, 2023
Most Filipinos want Bongbong Marcos to work with the US and Japan to defend the West Philippine Sea

A member of the Philippine Navy carries a Philippine flag during a short trip at the Sandy Cay, a sandbar just 4 nautical miles from the disputed Pag-asa island in the West Philippine Sea where a number of Chinese naval ships have been spotted on June 26, 2022. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — Palawan 3rd District Rep. Edward Hagedorn has thanked a House of Representatives panel and resource persons who came out to support his bill, which pushes for the creation of a marine protected area in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Hagedorn in a statement on Thursday lauded the House leadership and the Committee on natural resources after the said panel approved his House Bill No. 6373, which seeks to declare all the areas within the three nautical mile from the baselines of the Kalayaan Island Group and Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal as a marine protected area (KIGSS-MPA).

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According to the lawmaker, the proposal — which was approved by the panel during its hearing on Wednesday — is something that all Filipinos should support.

“I am beyond pleased and grateful for the overwhelming approval by the House Committee on Natural Resources of HB No. 6373 otherwise known as the [KIGSS-MPA] Bill, which I principally authored.  I thank House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for his strong support and commitment for the passage of the bill,” Hagedorn said.

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“It is my sincerest belief that pushing for environmental protection for the KIG and Scarborough Shoal is a common ground that every Filipino could rally behind. We do hope that this environmental lens would be likewise used by other coastal states surrounding the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea to promote cooperation and environmental protection for greater peace, stability and prosperity for the entire region,” he added.

Hagedorn also thanked committee chair and Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., and the members of the committee who did not object to the proposal, along with Cibac party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva who sponsored the bill in his absence.

“We are indeed overwhelmed by the presence and strong support by one of the country’s leading experts for the West Philippine Sea, retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, whose incisive insights provided a better refinement of the salient provisions of the bill,” Hagedorn said.

“Likewise, we are grateful for the support by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for this effort,” he added.

If the bill filed by Hagedorn last November 2022 is enacted, the KIGSS-MPA would enjoy all the benefits and safeguards stated under Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.

READ: Protection of rich natural resources in West Philippine Sea pushed

This would prohibit the following activities in the said area:

  • Using of fishing or harvesting gear that destroys coral reefs and other marine life
  • Dumping, throwing, using, or causing toxic chemicals, poisonous materials, and other hazardous items into the protected area
  • Littering or depositing refuse or debris
  • Possessing blasting caps or explosives
  • Undertaking mineral exploration or extraction
  • Establishing or introducing exotic species including genetically modified organisms or invasive alien species
    constructing, installing, or maintaining any kind of structure, fence, or enclosure whether temporary or permanent
  • Any other act that would result to the disturbance, killing, endangerment of the natural flora and fauna

An annual operating budget of at least P10 million will be placed for the management of the said area.

JMS
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TAGS: House of Representatives, Palawan, Panatag
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