Bill protecting Panaon Island filed
Senator Cynthia Villar has filed a bill to designate Panaon Island in Southern Leyte as a protected seascape under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act.
Villar emphasized in her Senate Bill No. 1690 that, despite the presence of extensive coral reefs and vibrant fish communities, the abundance and biomass of commercially important species exhibit signs of overfishing and other anthropogenic risks.
The senator sits as the chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. (https://bit.ly/3Yl4tii)
Panaon Island has been identified as one of the 50 priority reefs in the world that will most likely withstand the devastating effects of climate change.
The island is vulnerable to tropical cyclones, and nine of the country’s average 20 cyclones pass through the area each year.
The same effort is underway to protect the island’s seascape, as Southern Leyte Reps. Christopherson Yap’s and Luz Mercado’s House Bill Nos. 4095 and 3743, respectively, are being consolidated into one measure.
The bill, which is currently pending in the House Committee on Natural Resources, defines the parameters of the protected seascape’s coverage in the municipalities of Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, and San Ricardo.
It also includes administration mechanisms, prohibited acts and penalties, and funding requirements to ensure its protection.