The blue economy is the main topic during the launch of the latest CNN program “The Way Forward”

The Philippines needs to establish a Cabinet-level organization to explore and harness the potential of the country’s vast aquatic resources as part of the blue economy.

“We need to set up the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to help our marginalized fishermen. With a department that focuses solely on the management of the country’s aquatic resources, we can not only solve problems, but also explore potentials and opportunities and at the same time manage our natural resources in a sustainable way,” said the Philippine Movement. for rural reconstruction (PRRM). ) President Edicion dela Torre in a TV interview at the launch of “The Way Forward,” which aired Wednesday on CNN Philippines.

Lawyer Karen Jimeno, the show’s host, said “The Way Forward” hopes to kick-start the conversation with experts and thought leaders in science, academia and the legal field to form the ideas so that we can move forward. .

PRRM is the producer of the show. It will feature three episodes featuring experts and thought leaders discussing several blue economy issues. The talk show airs every Wednesday.

De la Torre said the PRRM decided to produce “The Way Forward” because the government tends to emphasize the land-based natural resources of the country. To balance the negligence inflicted on the country’s fishermen, he said the PRRM decided to launch the show as he also said it was part of the organization’s self-criticism for not giving the same support to the fishing sector compared to farmers.

He stressed that the government must recognize the potential of the country’s resources in the blue economy. Despite the country’s huge potential, de la Torre stressed that there was no clear policy to guide the blue economy.

“We are the biggest fishing country in the world. The Philippines is a maritime and archipelagic nation [MANA]. It is our MANA. We have to defend it,” dela Torre explained.

Lawyer Francis Jardeleza, a retired Supreme Court Associate Justice and one of the guests of the pilot episode, underlined the importance of the value of the arbitration award and the United Nations Convention on the Right to the Sea (UNCLOS) to enable the country to harness its rich natural resources for the blue economy.

In the interview, he canceled the nine-dash line presented by China, pointing out that it does not exist.

“The EEZ is the economic zone. It was agreed upon by the countries that met to form the treaty which is now called UNCLOS. The EEZ is an invention of UNCLOS. So they say we give each country 200 nautical miles of the outer parts to simplify things,” Jardeleza explained.

“Sovereignty is like putting it in simple terms. We are sovereign over Luzon because Luzon is our territory. So we have total civil and political control, the Philippines over Luzon. A sovereign right is on the area outside the territory, then you have 200 nautical miles outside the sea. We have the right to exploit the fish and the right to exploit the minerals from the basement”, a added Jardeleza.

He assured the fishermen that their fellow Filipinos are ready to help them apprehend the poachers and make it difficult for them to be released on bail. “If you ask me, I would like it to be declared a heinous crime,” he said.

Jessica C. Bell