DENR urged to utilize 2020 budget to protect West Philippine Sea biodiversity
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday said the proposed budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for fiscal year 2020, which costs P19.9 billion, must be utilized for the protection and restoration of the West Philippine Sea marine biodiversity that has been damaged by Chinese reclamation and massive poaching activities.
“We demand the DENR to formulate a detailed, one-year plan on how the marine resources in the West Philippine Sea would be protected against illegal fishing activities and reclamation by China. With such a big budget that they have proposed, it is more than enough to enforce their environmental protective measures to our exclusive economic zone that is facing severe environmental degradation brought about by Chinese aggressive incursion,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
(Panawagan namin sa DENR na magbalangkas ng detalyado at pang-isang taong plano kung papaanong ang mga rekurso ng West Philippine Sea ay mapoprotektahan laban sa iligal na pangingisda at reklamasyon ng Tsina. Sa laki ng panukalang pondo, sapat na sapat ito para ipatupad ang kanilang mga programang pangangalaga ng kalikasan sa ating exclusive economic zone na kumakaharap sa matinding pagkasira dahil sa agresibong panghihimasok ng Tsina,”)
PAMALAKAYA said out of the P19.9 billion, P13.2 billion would be allotted to DENR’s Natural Resources Conservation and Development Program. The budget deliberations for DENR will be conducted at the House of Representatives on Friday.
“The DENR has yet to take any concrete step and action in regards to the issue of West Philippine Sea which is not only a matter of sovereign and territorial rights, but with also environmental and ecological aspects which the DENR has a mandate,” added Hicap.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Partylist solon added that though the Supreme Court has already dismissed the Writ of Kalikasan to protect the West Philippine Sea, the DENR will “forever be one of the primary agencies responsible to protect and conserve the marine and aquatic ecosystems, and they should strictly carry out their mandate. Otherwise, the yearly budget allotted to them would be a waste of taxpayer’s money,” ###