Tell it to SunStar: Tuna fishing docks for Benham Rise

SO as to lure small Filipino fishermen looking for high-value tuna, we back the Department of Agriculture’s plan to put up shelters in the shallow portions of Benham or the Philippine Rise subject to the conduct of environmental impact studies. This is meant to draw in handline fishermen in motorized boats from as far as Quezon province.

Studies by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have demonstrated that there is a high catch rate for big-eye tuna, yellowfin tuna and albacore tuna in the waters of Benham. Handline tuna fishing could improve in a big way the living standards of marginal families in the coastal communities around the region.

We earlier urged Malacañang to certify my bill that seeks to establish the Philippine Rise Protection and Development Authority (PRPDA) to safeguard and manage the resources found in the waters, seabed and subsoil of the region that rightfully belong to the Philippines.

Under the bill, the PRPDA’s governing board would include the heads of the departments of environment and natural resources, agriculture, energy, science and technology, finance, tourism, public works and highways, and defense, plus three private sector representatives.

During the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Philippine government in 2009 specifically marked Benham as within the limits of the Philippine continental shelf.

The demarcation was approved by the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf three years later.

I was Department of Envrironment and Natural Resources secretary when I had Benham surveyed and mapped between 2007 and 2008 to gather the technical data that would later officially define the region as inside the Philippine continental shelf.

There’s no question Benham is of great economic value to Filipino. Benham is located off the Philippines’ Pacific coast, some 250 kilometers east of the northern beaches of Dinapigue, Isabela.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza

Crying over spilled mild

There is no need to blame anyone on the current traffic, flood and garbage problems in the country. Instead, we call on public officials to cooperate now in formulating a solution for public good by setting aside party affiliations.

A normally established company may need applicants for even a simple clerk position to take an “IQ” test and other qualifying examinations with the end in view of ensuring that the firm would serve well it’s customers.

Though this is not true to all, electing public officials to manage well the community they serve based merely on popularity may not work well.

Though not a constitutional requirement, a “resume” idea for would-be barangay public officials would be a good start to be applied eventually to all elected public officials nationwide.--Ed Claros of Talisay City
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