Western Visayas to maintain quarantine requirement, other travel protocols

PROVINCES and cities in the Western Visayas Region are keeping strict travel protocols, including the mandatory quarantine period for returning residents, despite the reduced requirements contained in a Feb. 26 resolution issued by the national task force on coronavirus. The national travel guidelines were to take effect starting Mar. 1, but provided discretion to local government units. The decision to retain the status quo in Western Visayas was made by the regional task force, citing the need for a transition period on the migration to the national travel management and contact tracing systems called S-Pass and Staysafe.ph. The regional group said all areas will be “retaining the status quo… while enjoining local government units… to prepare for their full utilization of the S-Pass and Staysafe.ph in their respective localities.” Western Visayas is composed of the independent cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, and the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental. Most of these local governments have their own contact tracing systems.

Proposed Bangsamoro fisheries agency to secure region’s waters, boost marine resource revenues

THE BANGSAMORO region’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform conducts a demonstration-workshop on fish processing for the Meti Fishing Household Association in the coastal town of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao as part of its livelihood and value-adding program for marine resources. — MAFAR

A PROPOSED fisheries agency in the Bangsamoro region will be tasked to ensure that its designated waters will be secure from encroachment and develop post-harvest facilities to maximize income from marine resources. The proposal for the creation of the Bangsamoro Fisheries Development Authority (BAFDA) is under plenary deliberation by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament. “Our (marine) resources are being tapped not only by other regions but even by foreign elements. We usually have fishing activity by Chinese fishermen in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf, and other fishermen from other countries of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region,” BTA Member Jose I. Lorena said in his sponsorship speech of the bill. He also said that with the BAFDA, the Bangsamoro region will not only be able to regulate the processing of its raw products, but will also put a stop to the incursion of “big time commercial fishing” into its areas. Mr. Lorena is one of the principal authors of the BAFDA bill, along with Speaker Ali M. Balindong, Deputy Speaker Nabil A. Tan, Deputy Majority Floor Leader Paisalin P. Tago and Member Amil S. Mawallil.

“If we could appropriately introduce the cost facilities needed for the preservation of our fisheries, and at the same time transforming our raw fishery/marine products into its final form, we will not only be competitive against the regions of the country but we will be the advanced fishery resource region of the country as well,” Mr. Lorena said. The BAFDA, which will be under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform, will also be tasked to establish and regulate fishing ports and related facilities. The Bangsamoro Organic Law provides the government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with the authority over its fishery, marine, and aquatic resources, with general supervision from the Philippine president. “The strength of a region lies on the full utilization of its resources. It is time that we fully tap our resources not only for the Bangsamoro but for the welfare the generation of the Bangsamoro that will come after us,” Mr. Lorena said. — MSJ