Six months since the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 as amended by Republic Act (RA) 10654 started, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) said it is ready for signing.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala is expected to sign the IRR any time before September 24, the last day of the six-month period which the law set for the promulgation of the IRR.
During a meeting on September 16 in Quezon City, the drafting committee finalized the provisions included in the IRR that formally capped the 20-day drafting process.
“After thorough discussions and sharing of opinions, we have come to this day. The IRR has been formulated through multi-sectoral participation and consensus-building approach,” DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR national director Asis G. Perez said.
To fully implement the Amended Fisheries Code, the IRR lays down the guidelines on the enforcement of various fisheries conservation measures. It covers the specific procedures on how to impose the penalties to fishers who committed illegal, unreported and, unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
Meanwhile, members of the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (NFARMC), the highest recommendatory body on fisheries policy, convened on the last four days of the deliberation until they reached the common decision to adopt the finalized version. NFARMC was regularly provided with copy of the draft during the entire course of the consultation to keep track of its development, Perez said.
“Once the IRR takes effect, the hard work starts. We have always believed in the success of collaborative works. We count on our partners—the private sector, the academe, government agencies, the fisheries sector and the general public—to continuously exert efforts to protect and safeguard our marine and aquatic resources,” he said. He then proceeded to thanking members of the drafting committee, the secretariat and, participants for their valuable inputs and contribution.
Representatives of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have expressed appreciation of the participative process through which the IRR has been crafted. (Joel C. Atencio)