Opening Statement: Subcommittee on PENCAS Law and Blue Economy

July 4, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore
Loren B. Legarda

Subcommittee on Economic Affairs
Senator Pecson Room and via Cisco Webex
04 July 2023, 10:00 A.M.

Isang luntiang umaga po sa ating lahat!

Today’s hearing is a continuation of the discussion on the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act and the Blue Economy Act. These bills represent our commitment to safeguard our environment while harnessing the full potential of our marine resources.

The fragile state of our ecosystems demands decisive action, as the impacts of climate change, habitat loss, and pollution threaten the very foundation of our nation’s well-being. The PENCAS Act introduces an innovative approach that allows us to account for the value of our natural resources and ecosystems by integrating their worth into our national accounts. By doing so, we can make more informed decisions that balance economic growth with environmental protection, ensuring the long-term sustainability of our ecosystems.

Moreover, the Blue Economy Bill seeks to bolster our efforts in achieving a vibrant and sustainable blue economy. With one of the longest coastlines in the world and an abundance of marine resources, the Philippines has the potential to become a leader in blue economy development. However, this potential can only be realized if we adopt a holistic approach that addresses the needs of our coastal communities, promotes sustainable practices, and protects our marine biodiversity.

In today’s hearing, we have the privilege of hearing from experts, stakeholders, and government agencies who will provide invaluable insights on the provisions of these bills. I urge all participants to engage in a fruitful and constructive dialogue as we seek to refine these legislations and ensure their effectiveness in safeguarding our ecosystems and promoting sustainable development.

Let us not forget the fundamental role of our indigenous communities and local fisherfolk in preserving and managing our marine resources. Their traditional knowledge, practices, and rights must be respected and integrated into our policies and strategies. Furthermore, we must consider the interests of other stakeholders such as tourism, research institutions, and private enterprises, and find common ground to build a sustainable and resilient blue economy that leaves no one behind.

Now, more than ever, is the time for us to unite and act in the interests of our people and our planet. We have the opportunity to shape policies that will define our nation’s trajectory towards a greener, more sustainable future. Let us seize this moment and craft legislation that will empower us to tread the path of inclusive and sustainable development.