During a meeting on September 16 in Quezon City, the drafting committee finalized the provisions included in the IRR that formally capped the 20-day drafting process.
“After thorough discussions and sharing of opinions, we have come to this day. The IRR has been formulated through multi-sectoral participation and consensus-building approach,” DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR national director Asis G. Perez said.
To fully implement the Amended Fisheries Code, the IRR lays down the guidelines on the enforcement of various fisheries conservation measures. It covers the specific procedures on how to impose the penalties to fishers who committed illegal, unreported and, unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
Meanwhile, members of the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (NFARMC), the highest recommendatory body on fisheries policy, convened on the last four days of the deliberation until they reached the common decision to adopt the finalized version. NFARMC was regularly provided with copy of the draft during the entire course of the consultation to keep track of its development, Perez said.
“Once the IRR takes effect, the hard work starts. We have always believed in the success of collaborative works. We count on our partners—the private sector, the academe, government agencies, the fisheries sector and the general public—to continuously exert efforts to protect and safeguard our marine and aquatic resources,” he said. He then proceeded to thanking members of the drafting committee, the secretariat and, participants for their valuable inputs and contribution.
Representatives of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have expressed appreciation of the participative process through which the IRR has been crafted.
BFAR Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro said the agency will do its best to fully implement the amended Fisheries Code. He added, “our next step is to have a massive information dissemination on the approved IRR especially to our municipal fisherfolk who have been receiving false information on RA 10654 which has resulted in their participation to Fish Holidays. Good thing the pambansang welgang dagat conducted in the Bicol region last September 23, 2015 has been peaceful and the protesters went home clarified of the law and are happy and satisfied. We are optimistic that they will support the law. It will benefit the whole fisheries sector and we can now move forward to sustainable fishing.”
The bureau will be soliciting support to the member-agencies of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) especially its Sub-Committee on Fishing and Marine Environment Protection to fully enforce the amended law.(NONIE P. ENOLVA, BFAR 5 Regional Information Officer)