Agri-aqua-culture modernization tops Visayas Business Conference Resolutions

As the 29th Visayas Business Conference ended, business leaders from Regions VI, VII and VIII called on the national government to mainstream marine biodiversity and other aquatic resource systems in over 200 million hectares of the national territory as a major anchor of the country’s COVID-19 and post- COVID -19 “New Normal” Food Systems and Socio-Economic.


Urging the government to better position the Philippine fisheries sector to improve the country’s recovery and resilience programs and to better prepare for shocks and prolonged disruptions to the food production systems that might result from future pandemics and escalating climate change, the 29th VABC resolutions focused on “bluer” economic recovery, resilience and sustainability.


Whereas, the Visayas Region is a tourism haven, an agricultural powerhouse and a resource-rich area poised to become one of the fastest growing manufacturing and services hub in the country;


Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impeded the growth of the Visayas region’s economy resulting in the suspension or eventual closing of business operations of small and medium enterprises;


Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic called for an urgency to move towards a better (and bluer) normal in our archipelagic nation where aquatic ecosystems comprise 87% of our national territory;


Whereas, the Visayas Chambers call on the Philippine government to mainstream our vast marine biodiversity and other aquatic resource systems in over 200 million hectares of our national territory as a major anchor of our COVID-19 and post- COVID -19 “New Normal” Food Systems and Socio-Economic Infrastructure;


Whereas, the Visayas Chambers call on the Philippine government to better position the Philippine fisheries sector to improve our recovery and resilience programs, and to better prepare it for shocks and prolonged disruptions to our food production systems that might result from future pandemics and escalating climate change;


WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, for and in consideration of the Philippine government, the business chambers of the Visayas area during its 29th Visayas Area Business Conference would like to submit the following resolutions towards a “bluer” economic recovery, resilience and sustainability.


For the Department of Agriculture (DA) to: 


  1. Earmark at least 40% of Agri-Agra credit facilities for business start-ups and support for local enterprises that complement fishers’ incomes from fisheries and which would improve fisheries sustainability; that the same focuses on enterprises involving and benefitting (i) fishers’ organizations; (ii) cooperatives with fishers as among their members, (iii) women engaged in fisheries, (iv) fishing firms, and (v) downstream value-chain actors (all with careful attention to social and economic equity concerns). (Support could be in the forms of direct financing, joint ventures, or credit guarantees.)

  2. Work with the Local Government Units (LGUs) to agree on science-based, fair, and equitable fishing allowances for commercial and municipal fleets in each FMA consistent with Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 263.

  3. Engage the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), CLSU, MSU-Naawan, UP-Visayas, and the SEAFDEC-AQD to do focused research and development (R&D) on three (3) aspects of Philippine aquaculture: (a) plant-based feeds, (b) better protection from diseases, and (c) better ecological fits and adaptation to Philippine coastal and upland ecosystems.


For the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to:


  1. Compel the internet providers to upgrade their internet bandwidth service to their clients, particularly the business establishments and schools.

  2. Compel local telecommunication companies to clear from their lines all cables that are no longer in service.


For the Department of Transportation (DOTR) to:


  1. Implement long term remedies to address the lack of smoke emission testing centers in the Visayas Region

  2. Work with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to simplify the documentation requirements and processes in transacting business with local ports.


For National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)  to:


  1. Consider inclusion of Anti- Red Tape Authority (ARTA) as a permanent member of the Regional Development Council’ s Economic Development Committee.


For the National Government to:


  1. Task the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and ARTA to review the LGUs’ processes of requiring business establishments to submit built and engineering plans as requirements for the approval of the annual business permit.

  2. Establish a joint task force composed of the Department of Agriculture (through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources), DOST, DTI, DOTR, DILG and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and allocated additional budget to together engage LGUs, civil society, and the private sector to (a) expand fishers’ access to cold chain logistics, fisheries value adding and processing facilities, and to ICT-enabled marketing, communication, transportation, and financial services; and (b) expand opportunities for organized small-scale fishers (and fisheries-based community enterprises) to link to market centers and consumers via both e-commerce and conventional distribution.

  3. Task the DA-BFAR and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR, through the Biodiversity Management Bureau or BMB) to collaborate to forge and execute a common program to reinforce and enhance the LGU-marine protected areas (MPA) management efforts toward permanently enforcing existing MPAs, and increase cumulative MPA coverage toward a minimum of 15% of the total area of all habitats critical to the sustainability of fish stocks within municipal waters and Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs), consistent with the Fisheries Code and the Expanded NIPAS Act.

  4. Design and adopt an honor and reward system through the DA- BFAR, DILG, DENR and THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for: (a) LGUs for leadership in good fisheries management (including adding DA-BFAR’s benchmarks of ecosystems approach to fisheries management [EAFM] in the DILG’s “Seal of Good Housekeeping”), and (b) fisherfolks in municipal and commercial fishing for conspicuous display and peer leadership in promoting voluntary compliance to fisheries and environmental laws.

  5. Task the DA-BFAR, DOTR-PCG, and LGUs to jointly design and execute a program to enhance the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System (IMEMS) by developing and adopting intelligence-driven incident responses (including community reporting that accounts for public safety and timely response) and maximizing the use of technology in local vessel tracking and monitoring of fish catch, and link these to IMEMS.

  6. Design and use, through the DA-BFAR, DOTR-PCG, and DILG-PNP-MG,  to IMEMS-linked IUU fishing monitoring and information management systems and conduct purposive enforcement operations against it and for the DBM to set aside P4 billion/year for LGUs to prototype and scale up community compliance.

  7. Task the DA-BFAR, DTI, DOF and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to jointly engage civil society and the private sector to craft and agree on verifiable measures to prevent distortive speculations on fisheries markets and to stabilize fish supply and prices through complementary and transparent production and importation targets and programs.

  8. Issue an Executive Order that would (1) make the “Bluer New Normal” COVID19 measures and recommendations Common Key Recovery and Resilience Results Areas (CKRRRA) of NEDA, DOF, DBM, DA, DENR, DTI, DSWD, DOST, TESDA, and DOTR; (2) require the participation of LGUs, civil society, fishers’ organizations and firms, and the private sector in the crafting and execution of these CKRRRAs; and (3) set aside new agency allocations for the execution of these CKRRRAs.



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