June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

West Philippine Sea vital food source for PH says environment advocate

PRO-environmental group Tanggol Kalikasan underscored the West Philippine Sea’s potential as a vital source for the country’s food security.

“The West Philippine Sea is very important for food security as about 70 to 80 percent of the galunggong supplied to Metro Manila comes from that area. It is also one of the migratory spots of tuna in the country,” lawyer Asis Perez, senior adviser of Tanggol Kalikasan during a recent session of the Kapihan sa PIA Quezon.

Perez, former director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) added that the abundance of marine products in the West Philippine Sea could not only enhance food security but also contribute significantly to the income of the country’s fisherfolk.

“There are many more species of fish that have been harvested there; that’s why you noticed that there are people talking about Bajo de Masinloc. It is also a significant aquaculture zone, where fishermen have been capturing shellfish and other similar species lately.”

According to a data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the WPS produced 304,586 metric tons (MT) of fish products on average between 2018 and 2022, with 124,009 MT which contributes an average of 7.19 percent to the total fisheries production and 10.74 percent to the total food fish production in the Philippines. 

Highlighting other economic and livelihood potentials, Perez stressed the need for sustained efforts to assert the nation’s right to utilize the sea’s rich natural resources.

He said that the conflicts in the WPS should be addressed peacefully and diplomatically, presenting a united front as one country. Perez added that responsibly managing the WPS territorial dispute is crucial for harnessing its resources for the benefit of the Filipino people.

He also emphasized that the West Philippine Sea belongs to the Filipino people, as recognized underby the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Tanggol Kalikasan is a non-government organization focuses on building partnership with government agencies, private sector and the general public, to ensure that the policies and programs enacted remain pro-environment and pro-people.

Among the group’s advocacies is to ensure that Filipinos are well-informed on their rights and responsibilities in protecting the WPS. (AM/CH, PIA-4A)