Press Release
June 3, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for the creation of an elite enforcement body tasked with protecting our country's aquatic territory during yesterday's hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Angara, former Secretary of Agriculture, explained that poaching exotic corals and wildlife has become a very lucrative business around the world. The destruction of rare flora and fauna has already caused irrepairable damage to our marine ecosystems.

"Being an archipelago, we have one of the richest, most biodiverse and extensive coastal areas in the world but unfortunately, we don't possess enough resources to protect all of it," Angara said.

"We have very good laws against poaching and other destructive activities but no sufficient manpower and technical resources to police our huge territory," he said.

Since the national coast guard cannot provide all the manpower needed, Angara suggested that local government units or LGUs should be tapped for the effort.

"Local municipalities already train their own bantay-dagat teams to serve as the guardians of the sea. Perhaps we can establish an elite force among these ranks dedicated to enforcing our marine laws," he said.

Angara urged the government to act fast and become more proactive. "The destruction of our country's rich natural heritage is a race against time, which we may have already lost."

He called on concerned government agencies to work together to solve and mitigate a national problem.

"What we need is a framework to unify different government agencies with jurisdiction over our marine and aquatic resources so we can channel their efforts into action-oriented plans and measures," said Angara.

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