Philippines: Officials Continue Efforts on Coastal Management

Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Rafael Howard F. Baraan pointed out the difficulty that the provincial government went through to implement coastal management efforts and river clean up projects.

The provincial government underwent dismantling of illegal fish pens, dredging, mangrove planting and dispersal of fingerlings along the river systems of the province to revitalize the ecosystem there.

Dismantling of fish pens involved dislocating few people who engaged in fish cage operations, thus implementing it was tantamount to political suicide, he said during the KBP Forum at the Philippine Information Agency office on Thursday.

“He was the only governor who ever thought of cleaning the rivers,” Baraan said referring to the political will of Governor Amado T. Espino Jr.

The administrator said that most local chief executives are afraid of implementing such because of its possible political repercussions.

The dismantling affected some fish pen operators but benefited more people, he said, adding that more species of fish have flourished since the fish pens were dismantled.

These species have become available to all, unlike before when these are only available to the fishpond operators, he added.

The provincial government will nevertheless allow the installation of fish pens, but only during certain seasons, and not whole year round, he clarified.

The provincial government has also been dredging the rivers, allowing for smooth outflow of the rivers.

The dredging operations have prevented flood in low lying communities, he said.

As an added benefit, the provincial government was able to construct out of the dredged materials a road line spanning 1.86 kilometers in Barangay Salapingao in Binmaley yown, Provincial Planning and Development Officer Benny Pizarro said.

These efforts for river clean up constitute the Ilog Ko, Bilayen Ko tan Aroen Ko (My river, I will revive and love) river rehabilitation program, which earned for the province a Likas Yaman Award from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The province also garnered a similar award thru its Mangrove Reforestation Program for having the widest area planted and for having the only mangrove nursery in Region 1.

Additionally, the provincial government has been constantly propagating several species of fish in the rivers by dispersing fingerlings in those areas.

Baraan encouraged all towns in the province to implement their respective fishery codes, or without that, to adopt the provincial fishery code, instead.

[mappress]

Source: pia.gov, November 26, 2012

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