The weakening of the world’s fisheries is due to some primary effects of overfishing and climate change, and this could threaten some developing country’s food security.
This was cited by University of Rhode Island President David Dooley in his visit here during a covenant signing of commitment with the provincial government of Negros Oriental in the Fish Right program to support and improve sustainable fishing in Southern Negros.
“Everywhere the fish is under great stress as more and more people rely on fish as source of protein and food, and we are exploiting fish stock beyond its capacity to replenish,” explained Dooley.
He said it is important for the countries like the Philippines to take leadership position to manage the fishing resources with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The program intends to develop a multi-sector network for a sustainable partnership and cooperation to achieve the goal on the protection and conservation of marine resources in the targeted areas of Southern Negros, Calamianes Islands in Palawan, and Visayan Seas.
Dooley said catching too many small fishes before they mature and do not have the chance to reproduce may decrease the fish population.
He urged the fishery sector to develop sustainable practices and be mindful of all commercial activities for the protection of fish stocks in the sea.
Fish population is expected to be displaced, too, due to the effects of climate change as the ocean gets warmer in temperatures, said Dooley.
The Dumaguete Presidencia or City Hall was officially declared an “important cultural property” (ICP) by the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP).
NMP’s Cultural Properties Regulation Division Deputy Chief Raquel Flores said this property, under the law of the National Museum, passed as exemplary aesthetics, engineering, architecture, and history and social impacts.
Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo expected that this would be the start of community consciousness to preserve old structures that are historical monuments that will be a legacy for the future generations.
In the next three months, the National Museum can start putting in national treasures which are now deposited at the NMP.
Remollo said the original Presidencia will be transformed into a repository of the important artifacts of Dumaguete that date back as far as 500 BC, with most of them unearthed in Bacong, Negros Oriental.
Flores said that under the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, “the State shall promote and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage and resources” and assures that the Presidencia’s protection, preservation, and promotion are intact.”
It qualifies as an ICP on account of it is designed by Juan M. Arellano, one of the country’s greatest architects, and possesses “exceptional cultural, artistic and/or historical significance” to the Philippines as defined by the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act, the National Museum Act of 1998, and the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
The declaration of the Dumaguete Presidencia or City Hall, built in 1936, as an ICP entitles it to be granted government funding for its restoration, protection, and conservation by the National Museum.
Remollo welcomes the declaration as this will enhance the city’s reputation as a heritage destination.
The mayor expects that the Dumaguete Presidencia will become another tourist destination for heritage lovers and provide the next generation a better appreciation of the city’s rich culture and heritage.
The Dumaguete Presidencia is the fourth to be declared as an ICP in Negros Oriental after Silliman University, Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres, and Bacong Church.
The building is currently undergoing restoration works with a budget of P49 million and will be converted into a branch of the NMP that will house artifacts and historical pieces of the city, province, and Central Visayas.
The National Museum (NM) is one of the lead government cultural agencies tasked to achieve the goals of instilling cultural consciousness and a sense of pride and nationalism among Filipino citizens through its activities covering the sciences, education, and culture.
To ensure the preservation and protection of cultural properties in the Philippines, NM is mandated to declare significant cultural properties as National Cultural Treasure or ICP.
Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo upheld the provincial government’s mandate to conserve and protect the province’s fishery resources by signing the commitment on sustainable fisheries in a simple ceremony held at Silliman University (SU) recently.
The signing of the document was the highlight of the fellowship activity hosted by the implementers of Fish Right (FR) Program in SU for its partners in Negros Oriental and counterparts in University of Rhode Island in the U.S.A.
SU President Dr. Betty McCann, University of Rhode Island (URI) President David Dooley, URI Coastal Resources Center Director JP Walsh, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Regional Governor for Central Visayas Ed Du, Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Francisco Martinez, and representatives of agencies involved in the implementation of FR program witnessed Gov. Degamo sign the said document.
Gov. Degamo signed the document in behalf of the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental after the Sangguniang Panglalawigan passed a resolution authorizing him to represent the provincial government in this endeavor.
In his short message, Gov. Degamo thanked the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for choosing Negros Oriental as one of the three sites for the implementation of FR program.
Gov. Degamo underscored that project will benefit those people residing in coastal communities especially those who rely on fishing as their source of income and livelihood.
Moreover, he said, the FR project will be an opportunity for agencies to synergize their efforts towards a sustainable fish harvest.
“I will do what is necessary within my power and within my capability as provincial governor to make sure this project will be a success,” Gov. Degamo said.
The provincial government of Negros Oriental has projects regarding the conservation and protection of our seas through the Environment and Natural Resources Division under my office,” he added.
FR Principal Investigator Dr. Ben Malayang III disclosed the document was supposed to be signed by the governors of the two Negros provinces as affirmation of their commitment to promote sustainable fishery practices in Negros Island.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfred Marañon was not present during the activity.
Dr. Malayang still thinks this is a positive step to ensure there is enough fish supply for the people of Negros.
“It’s a good way of telling everybody that this whole program, initiatives in Negros Island will be led and involves the two governors,” Dr. Malayang remarked.
The FR program is an initiative between the Philippine and U.S. Governments to increase fish production and improve management of fisheries and coastal resources.
It is implemented in three sites namely, the Visayan Sea, Calamianes Group of Islands, and Negros Island.
Part of its objectives is to improve the income of fisherfolks and the well-being of people in terms of food and protein security and enhance the people’s ability to respond and manage climate change -related risks and threats to our fishery ecosystems.
“We use multi-sector partnerships and coalition building as our pedagogy for exhibiting our own objective of sustainable fisheries by way of, among others, righting the scale of our fishing efforts to within the carrying capacity of our fishery, hence, the term fish right,” Dr. Malayang explained.
“We believe, especially in Silliman and in greater Negros community that there is ethical and moral dimension of meeting to respect the rights of our fishes to continue and sustain their population and their species. It is a moral obligation,” he added.
On the other hand, URI President David Dooley looks forward to a strong partnership between SU, Provincial Government of Negros Oriental, and the agencies involved in the FR project in Negros Oriental.
He cited in his speech the need to protect and properly manage the country’s resources for the benefit of the future generations.
URI is SU’s counterpart in implementing the FR Program.