In a recently concluded forum by the NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Inc. and the National Anti-Poverty Commission last April 26, 2016 at the PHILDHRRA Partnership Center in Quezon City, representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Land Management Bureau reveals that the government is on its way of mapping out the foreshore lands and their current uses with the aim of better management and regulating their uses.
‘We have started the mapping of foreshore lands and their uses in the Philippines because we see these particular land resource as important in industries such as fishing and tourism, among others,’ Engr. Rolando Pablo of the DENR-LMB quipped. Participants of the forum, who are mostly fisherfolk and civil society organizations, welcomed this initiative though they cautioned that consultations should be conducted among stakeholders in order to verify and correct possible mistakes especially on the current and intended uses of foreshore areas.
Foreshore areas are important to fisherfolk because this serves as their access to the sea, their primary sources of income and subsistence. The adjacent land which is called salvage zones are either used by fisherfolk as seaweed and fish drying areas, boat docking sites and gleaning areas for women fisherfolk. Most of the time, salvage zones are used for settlement despite being highly vulnerable to hazards such as storm surges and soil erosion.
The forum facilitated discussions for possible collaboration with the DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for faster resolution of land conflicts especially for areas potentially good for the establishment of Community Fish Landing Centers. In 2015, the DA through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), aimed to construct around 252 fish landing centers. Another 200 are targeted to be constructed in 2016. Eventually, these fish landing centers will be managed by fisherfolk organizations.
The DENR representatives were likewise notified to look at Joint Administrative Order 01 series of 2014 between the DENR, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Science and Technology on hazard zone classification. Maps of foreshore land and its uses should be overlaid with the geo-hazard maps in order to make a comprehensive take on the status of foreshore land resource in the country.
Article written by Mr. Dennis Calvan