The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reiterated its call to Filipinos to protect the ocean, citing its significant role in ensuring food security during a learning event in the culmination of the celebration of the Month of the Ocean on May 24.
DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu emphasized the importance of protecting the oceans not only to help generate jobs for the tourism sector, but more importantly to ensure food security for the entire country.
“During this health crisis, we have already seen how essential food is to our daily lives. It is, therefore, also fitting that we protect our oceans because through the interconnection of biodiversity, our food supply whether inland or water depends on our oceans,” Cimatu said in a news release on Saturday.
At the same time, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda has expressed concern over the “very alarming” state of our oceans.
“If every person throws a piece of candy wrapper in the ocean, after just a few months, we would lose our oceans. This is the simplest form of explanation to this growing problem,” he said.
Antiporda pointed out that the growing problem of marine pollution is one of the main reasons why the DENR closed all illegally operating open dumpsites across the country and strictly implemented Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The dumpsite closures are also in line with the ongoing Manila Bay rehabilitation, which is one of the DENR’s top priority programs in saving the country’s oceans.
“In cleaning Manila Bay, we have three objectives — to see is to believe, dapat wala na tayong makikitang (we should not see) debris. Second, to smell is to believe — dapat pag dumaan tayo dyan, ang simoy ng hangin ay amoy dagat na at hindi amoy kubeta (we should smell fresh air from the sea), and third, to test is to believe — pag-test natin ng water quality, dapat standard na siya (water quality test should be at standard level),” Antiporda pointed out.
Hosted by the Strategic Alliance and Environmental Partnership Division of the DENR Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service, the event featured the success story of the Calatagan Biodiversity Friendly Enterprise in Region 4-A (Calabarzon) and the Coral Rehabilitation Program of Region 11 (Davao).
The learning event, which will also be presented to elementary and high school teachers and members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, also showcased the best practices followed by communities and DENR personnel in their respective regions.
The Month of the Ocean is celebrated annually in the Philippines during May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1998.
This year’s celebration has a theme, “The Science We Need for The Ocean We Want.”