NegOr Guv affirms commitment to promote sustainable fisheries

By Roi Lomotan

 

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Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, University of Rhode Island President Dr. David Dooley, and Silliman University President Dr. Betty McCann (seated, l-r) take a group photo with the implementers of Fish Right Program and their partners in the province after Gov. Degamo signed the commitment on sustainable fisheries in a ceremony held on March 5, 2019, at Silliman University.(PIA7-NegOr)

 

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.

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NegOr marks Renewable Energy Day

By Jennifer C. Tilos and France Ariola

 

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Ms. Earth 2015 Angela Ong (in green) joins NegOr Gov. Roel Degamo and other guests in the celebration of Negros Oriental’s Renewable Energy Day at Lamberto Macias Sports Center in Dumaguete City. (NGB/PIA Negros Oriental)

 

Negros Oriental has marked its first Renewable Energy Day following Gov. Roel Degamo’s Executive Order No. 22-18 establishing the event every March 5 annually.

The declaration has made Negros Oriental the first province in the Philippines to legislate unequivocal support and commitment to renewable energy sources through an annual commemorative local government event.

On March 2018, Degamo also signed an executive order declaring the province as environment-friendly and clean energy province committed to utilizing only clean and renewable energy sources such as geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar, as well as shunning the use of fossil fuels and coal operations in power generation.

“Renewable Energy Day is an important occasion for the people of Negros Oriental to come together and celebrate our common interest and goal of caring for our rich natural resources,” said Degamo.

“We achieve this through daily activities as well as business practices that do not harm our environment, and this primarily includes going for renewable and sustainable sources of energy to power the progress of our communities,” he added.

The first Renewable Energy Day in Negros Oriental was held at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Complex in Dumaguete City.

A highlight of the event was an exhibit of renewable energy players, along with other organizations and proponents of green and sustainable business practices such as organic farming.

Guest speakers gave talks on renewable energy sources and inspirational stories on sustainable living.

Special guest Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong, a native of Lapuz, Iloilo City, shared her experiences as an advocate of environmental causes.

Other guests were representatives from the academe such as Silliman University and Foundation University and Engr. Edwin H. Alcober, Head of geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) Geothermal Resource, Sub-Surface Group who talked about energizing the future.

“We hope that with celebrations such as Renewable Energy Day, our humble province serves as a beacon of hope and a shining example to other communities as well as to the entire Philippines that a renewable energy future is possible and extremely beneficial not just for the environment but for us humans,” said Degamo.

‘Fish Right’ launched in Dgte

By Jennifer C. Tilos

 

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USAID Fish Right Start-up Event. Signing of covenant of commitment to sustainable fisheries in Negros Island with media, business, cooperatives, government agency partners and (looking on at the back) Most Rev. Bishop Julito Cortes of Diocese of Dumaguete and USAID Chief of Party Nygiel Armada. (PIA Negros Oriental)

 

A multi-sectoral partnership program dubbed “Fish Right” which aims to improve fish production and protect marine resources in the country worth US$25 million was launched Thursday in Dumaguete City.

This five-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be implemented in three areas in the country which include South Negros, Visayan Sea, and Calamianes Island Group.

During the Fish Right start-up event, partner institutions both from the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental have signed the covenant of commitment to sustainable fisheries management in Negros Island.

In the same activity, Chief of Party of USAID’s Fish Right Program, Nygiel Armada, said the irresponsible fishing practices and weak on-ground implementation of fishery rules contribute to the threat of marine ecosystem and against sustainable seafood.

“Our degree of fishing right now will redound to loss or deplete fish stock in the seas because we are catching the fish before it matures and even before they give birth,” said Armada.

It was noted that the problem of declining fish supply is evident not only locally but also globally.

Thus, Armada cited the aims of the Fish Right program, namely: to increase fish biomass in selected marine protected areas by 10 percent and strive to enforce the existing fishing laws.

“We struggle for almost four decades now and we thought that fishes are inexhaustible. The fishes are not coming back because we catch them before they grow…before they are supposed to produce and we are destroying its nurseries and coral reefs,” he lamented.

He explained that effective fisheries management and governance are needed to achieve sustainable fisheries, “manage the people who are utilizing and catching and at the same time who are creating rules for managing the fishery.”

In order to address the fish situation and improve fish-based food protein security, the said program also presents an ecosystem approach including “right-sizing” when catching fish.

“We believe that building partnerships with this Fish Right program can be even more successful. The USAID has committed to work with the Philippine government in sustainable fisheries management,” Armada noted.