A HOUSE leader has underscored the need to put in place a national policy that will ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the Philippines’ genetic resources or raw materials to improve the productivity and quality of crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries, as well as to maintain healthy populations of wild species.
This was stressed by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine “Nene” Ramirez-Sato, a member of the 12-man House contingent to the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), after President Rodrigo Rody Duterte’s issuance of Presidential Proclamation declaring portions of
the Philippine Rise under strict protection and exclusively for scientific exploration.
“The initiative of the President to protect and conserve our rich marine biodiversity, particularly at the Philippine Rise, is laudable. This is the first important step to ensure that the present and future generation of Filipinos will be able to enjoy the country’s rich biological diversity,” said Sato, a member of the House committee on natural resources.
Sato said the Philippines is rich in biodiversity and its unique species of wildlife -- both plant and animal -- have active ingredients that could be developed into life-saving drugs or medicine, health and wellness products or even for food processing
Earlier, President Duterte signed a Presidential Proclamation setting aside a 50,000-hectare portion of the PHL Rise, including the 17,000-hectare Benham Bank, as a no-take zone while another 300,000 hectares is declared a fisheries management area.
The President said he wants Filipino scientists to have complete access to these areas to do scientific study and research.
Sato noted that President Duterte is also expected to sign into law the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and an Executive Order (EO) that will put in place a National policy on Access-and-Benefit Sharing of the benefits derived from the exploitation of PHL Genetic Resources.
The signing of the ENIPAS and the EO on Access-and-Benefit Sharing on PHL Genetic Resources strengthens the protection and conservation of the country’s rich biodiversity through the protected management system and ensures that the country will benefit from whatever economic gains from the exploitation and sustainable development and utilization of the country’s natural wealth without compromising its ecological integrity.
The ENIPAS, Sato said will enhance protected areas management in the Philippines, and increase the number of Protected Areas (PAs) backed with legislation by another 94 PAs while the executive order on Access-and-Benefit Sharing or ABS will promote scientific research that will tap into the country’s rich biodiversity for purpose of, among others, developing life-saving drugs, beauty and wellness products and ensuring that the PHL and the community where they are found will have fair and equitable share from their benefits.