The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 also known as the Republic Act 8550 provided a new framework for management and development of Philippine fisheries from “open access” and maximum utilization (1975 Presidential Decree 704) to access limitation and conservation for sustainable development. Its principles has been for the attainment of its goal for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation, Sustained Management, Conservation and Protection and Improvement of its Productivity.
Carrying the new concept for management, the code reconstituted the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as a line agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA). It is mandated to carry out the implementation of the provision of RA8550 and in attending to the needs of our fishing industry.
The nature of BFAR as a line agency of the Department of Agriculture was not clearly stated in the provisions of RA 8550. Its jurisdiction however was limited beyond 15 kilometers municipal water and will provide technical support to the government units mandated to administer its own territorial waters. Thus, as a national governing agency for fisheries, its major tasks is to formulate, instigate and promulgate policies and plans for national fishery management and development. Research and technical support for increasing productivity of the sector is also one of its major responsibility.
In order to put into operation its functions, the President of the Philippines appoints Undersecretary for Fisheries and Aquatic Resource in the DA. Still under the political clout, the administration can be subject to power struggles within the government. The establishment of regional, provincial and municipal offices in close coordination with the Local Government Units serves as local agents of the central government in managing our marine and aquatic resources.
The Fisheries Code of 1998 provides for the creation of consultative mechanism in the Department of Agriculture (DA) such as the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC). This is a body created from the local and the national level of the government composed of GO, private sector, and NGO/PO representatives that functions as consultative, advisory and recommendatory council to the DA-BFAR on matters related to the formulation and implementation of fisheries related policies, plans and programs as well as in resource allocation.
The FARMC has been regarded an important arena for civil society participation in government’s decision and policy-making processes. It ensures effective governance responsive to the needs of the people particularly the marginalized sectors of society. Likewise, it is where local initiatives influence and integrates into the national policy direction of the fishery development.
Given the significance of FARMC as a venue for civil society participation, it is important and relevant to critically assess and evaluate its actual effectiveness and appropriateness as well as its functionality as a strategy for community empowerment in fisheries management.
Currently, efforts are now being initiated by various civil society groups in preparation for the mandatory review by Congress of the Fisheries Code, 3 years after its passage.
The following sections present problems and issues confronting fisheries administration. It likewise explores policy options to address the issues.
- Republic Act No. 9147
- Republic Act No. 7586
- Environmental Laws
- Republic Act 9072
- Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
- Republic Act No. 8371
- Clark Expo
- Hinulugang Taktak
- Mercedes Fishtival
- Sinarapan Location