FACING THE GIANTS – Bringing in our Allies

Local Implementation Team (LIT) has been formed, comprising representatives from various stakeholders of the project Strengthening Good Governance and Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration in FMA 6, Coastal and Marine Areas of the West Philippine Sea

There is a problem. How do we stop improper waste disposal? Natural systems modification? Unregulated tourism? Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing? Unsustainable agriculture practices and surface runoffs? These were identified in our situation model as major direct threats to the coastal and marine ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea. These are the questions we are going to answer one by one as our project unfolds in the next two years. These seem unsurmountable.

Nonetheless, we took on the challenge to face these giants and we are bringing in our allies. We gathered our allies last March 21, 2023, and formed the Local Implementation Team (LIT) of the project. The LIT is composed of representatives from the Provincial Local Government, Municipal and City LGUs, Government Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, people's organizations, Private Sector, academe, and other member associations in the LGUs.

Representaive from Integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (IFARMC) shared that “Kami po na nasa tabing dagat, nakikita po namin na may problema. Ito po ay nagbigay sa amin ng eye-opener para alam po namin kung sino at ano po yung lalapitan namin ahensya. Bilang lider ng mga manginigsda sa La Union at Region 1, masasabi ko po napakaimportante po ng proyektong ito.”  (As coastal dwellers, we see that there is a problem. This gave us an eye-opener so that we know who and what agency we will approach. As the leader of fishermen in La Union and Region 1, I can say that this project is very important)

Effective conservation and management of fish stocks in Philippine waters can be achieved using the Ecosystem Approach Fisheries Management (EAFM) and through cooperation between and among the local government units and the national government agencies, specifically at the level of the delineated FMAs of the country” representative from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources BFAR, said.

Representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, LGUs, Academe, and the Provincial Government also gave their insights after the LIT formation and a discussion of BFAR on Administrative Order No. 263 Series of 2019 "Establishment of Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) for the Conservation and Management of Fisheries in the Philippines “

Through the sharing of the members of the LIT, we acknowledge that there are already policies and plans in place to address the issues in the marine ecosystem. If these initiatives and efforts are put together, ranging from conservation, promoting sustainable fishing, mitigating climate change, promoting and sustainable livelihood then we are more compelled to bring these giants down.