Press Release
May 29, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren B. Legarda's Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Economic Affairs
Senator Padilla Room and via Cisco Webex
29 May 2023, 9:00 A.M.

Isang luntiang umaga po sa ating lahat!

The following bills and a resolution are referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Affairs for today's hearing:

For the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Law:

Senate Bill No. 9, authored by this representation;

Senate Bill No. 1914, authored by Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr.; and

Senate Bill No. 2041, authored by Sen. Joel Villanueva.

For the Blue Economy Act:

Senate Bill No. 1993, authored by this representation; and

Senate Resolution No. 81, authored by Sen. Grace Poe.

I could say this is probably the best time to institute this commonsensical approach to managing our national patrimony, but the truly best time would have been when I first filed the Philippine Economic, Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting (PEENRA) bill in 2007. We would have realized then what we stood to lose, the damage we stood to suffer, and we would have planned and invested accordingly.

With the NEDA, PSA, and DENR fully on board, it seems the time has come.

Restoration must use economic indicators that value more than just the incomes and ignore the destruction of our natural capital in generating revenues and in calculating what is lost.

As we face an age of changing climate and unprecedented biodiversity loss, the challenge is how we can use our vulnerability as an opportunity to examine the role and impact of natural resources on the economic growth of a developing nation such as our country.

By institutionalizing a Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS), we hope to integrate environmental inputs and outputs in the determination of national income accounts to reflect a more accurate state of development and economic performance of the country.

Second on our agenda this morning is the bill promoting effective maritime governance necessary to ensure the sustainability of the blue economy, and to ensure that the Philippines' maritime interests are protected and properly managed.

The UN specifies Blue Economy as a range of economic activities related to oceans, seas, and coastal areas, and whether these activities are sustainable and socially equitable.

We are a maritime nation with up to 88% of our territory covering 2.2 million square kilometers of water area, so it is crucial to enhance the health and well-being of marine resources for coastal communities, and aid preservation efforts for the environment.

We believe that these steps are crucial in our goal of conserving and preserving our ecosystem for present and future generations which is why I thank all of you for being here today.

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