Press Release
March 6, 2012

Senate adopts resolution to establish Worldfish Center

The Senate adopted on third and final reading a resolution concurring in the ratification of a treaty seeking to establish an office of the Worldfish Center in the Philippines.

With 22 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and zero abstention, Senate Resolution No. 708, otherwise known as the Resolution concurring in the ratification of the agreement between the Philippines and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) to establish the Office of Worldfish Center in the Philippines, was adopted.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations, said the Worldfish Center will undertake research and development of aquatic and marine resources in the Philippines and nearby countries.

"We are now seeing the direct impact of environment degradation and abuse of natural resources, that is, many of our citizens go hungry. It is immensely disturbing that we have allowed the depletion of our valuable resources at the risk of leaving nothing for the future generations of the Filipinos," Legarda stressed.

Earlier, Enrile stressed the need to pass bills that will strengthen environmental protection and conservation. He said the Philippines has one of the richest biodiversity in the world and Filipinos should conserve and preserve its resources for the future generation.

"It is time that we crank up the engine of sustainable development and use these available resources for the common good," Enrile said.

Legarda cited a Social Weather Station survery which showed that the incidence of hunger has increased in the country. According to her, the situation has gone so bad that the Philippines is now importing "galunggong".

The National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) said that overfishing and illegal practices such as blast fishing has caused the sharp decline of the galunggong population.

"Seventy one percent (71%) of the fish species in the world are found in the Coral Triangle and the Philippines is one of the six countries that form part of the area. We are so rich but why are we hungry?" Legarda said.

Legarda said the establishment of the center will enhance the country's biodiversity information system, which will provide scientific bases for projects involving resource management and aquaculture.

The Center, she added, will also promote environmental conservation which "is the key to fighting poverty, obtaining food security and overall economic development."

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