By Franco Regala
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Senator Cynthia Villar said there is a need to strengthen the sustainable management of aquatic resources and promote stakeholder engagement to resource protection and conservation.
The senator said this during the recent coastal cleanup drive dubbed Manila Bay Gawing MMK (Malinis at Masagang Karagatan) at the Bamboo Hub in Lubao town.
Villar, along with Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Governor Lilia Pineda, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona, Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab, BFAR Director 3 Lilian Garcia and Sasmuan Mayor Nardo Velasco, led the coastal cleaning and mangrove planting here.
Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agricultural and Food and Environment and Natural Resources, also conducted a fingerlings dispersal. She said this can control and lower the prices of fishes in the market.
The lady senator encouraged all the attendees, including department heads of provincial government, other officials and representatives from mandamus agencies, and Local Government Units (LGUs) and students from different schools to be responsible enough in the preservation, protection, conservation and rehabilitation of coastal resources since the Manila Bay is already five times dirtier than the 2008 record.
For her part, Arroyo said the idea to intensify the efforts in reviving the environmental condition of Manila Bay and its coastal provinces can help in the fishery industry, environmental rehabilitation and lowering the market prices for fishes.
“Nakakatulong tayo sa environment, nakakatulong tayo sa fisheries at makakatulong pa tayo sa pagbaba ng presyo ng mga bilihin (We are helping the environment, helping the fisheries sector and helping bring down the prices of goods),” she added.
Mayor Cayabyab said that it is everyone’s responsibility to conserve the aquatic resources. “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa ba? At kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?”
She disclosed that the eco-tourism park, Bamboo Hub, attracts tourists from other provinces and even families who spend their weekends here.
Cayabyab added that the development of the hub will continue even after her term ends.
Pampanga governor Pineda, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to Villar and Arroyo for always supporting and extending their hand to the provincial government of Pampanga.