The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is inviting coastal cities and municipalities in Palawan to join the search for the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK)” and get the chance to be awarded as the most outstanding coastal community in the country this year.
The MMK, which is now on its third year, is a program by the BFAR that recognizes the exceptional efforts and offerings of coastal cities and towns in the conservation and protection of their marine environment, and in sustainable fisheries development.
Provincial Fishery Office (PFO) technical officer Fatima Ventura said the search program is important as it encourages local government officials and residents to value their coastal areas and marine ecosystems.
“Mahalaga po ang ganitong campaign kasi nagri-raise siya ng awareness regarding sa importance ng ating coastal areas and marine ecosystems,” she said.
Her office has already sent invitation notices to all municipalities, including the guidelines for the outstanding coastal community search.
“Lahat ng municipalities sa north and south ay napadalhan na namin ng letter and guidelines para ma-inform sila at makapag-participate,” she said.
In 2017, only the municipality of Narra participated in the search, according to her. This is because the invitations reached other areas late.
“Once bumaba ang letter, disseminate na kami, pero mahirap pa rin ma-reach ang ibang areas,” Ventura said, while hoping that this time around, more municipalities in Palawan would join.
BFAR Assistant Regional Director Roberto Abrera said Palawan, which has superlative marine ecosystems, could shine more if its municipalities join the search.
“Mas makikilala pa ang Palawan bilang probinsya kung saan ang mga munisipyo ay talagang may effort para siguruhin na malusog ang marine ecosystems nila at libre sa pang-aabuso,” he told Palawan News on Wednesday after awarding seaweed seedlings to grower beneficiaries in Puerto Princesa at the City Hall.
Ventura said requirements include fisher’s registration, registered municipal fishing boat, and related proposed projects regarding the management of the area being entered in the search.
There should also be no presence of illegal fishing; observance of closed fishing season; establishment of marine protected areas; clean coastal waters without domestic and industrial wastes; and effective mangrove protection and rehabilitation program.
First place winner will receive P30 million, second place P18 million, and third place will be awarded P10 million — all in the form of fisheries livelihood projects.