Duterte Pushing for a Smoke-Free Nation

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“I have signed Executive Order No. 26 imposing a ban on smoking in public places to mitigate its consequences. We want to minimize access to tobacco products, and provide a more supportive environment for those who are attempting to quit tobacco use,” Duterte said.

HealthJustice Philippines, a think tank and advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, was quick to offer support to Duterte after he stated during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he would limit access to tobacco products.

“It is inspiring to be working with a President who values the health of our people. We assure him of our continuous support and guidance in minimizing access to tobacco. More

Saving Dory, Nemo and Blue Fin Tuna at Benham Rise

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Philippine Rise Pledge (Oceana)
Time to give our oceans some attention before we lose our underwater treasures. Benham Rise (renamed recently as Philippine Rise) is “an important source of biodiversity and contributes to the resiliency of threatened ecosystems . . . also home of the Pacific Blue Fin Tuna”.  These are just some of the discoveries made of the area, exploration still ongoing.

Together with its allies in the government and private sector, Oceana Philippines is urgently pushing for the legal protection of Benham Rise as a marine protected area including the declaration of Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of Benham Rise, as a no-take zone, where human activity is not allowed.

In a policy dialogue called “Bayanihan Para sa Benham” hosted by Oceana and graced by representatives from various government agencies and other stakeholders, Director Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shared that Benham Rise was designated as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSA) by 196 countries during the 13th Meeting of the Convention of Parties (COP) to the Convention of Biological Diversity in Mexico in December 2016.
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Oceana Sets Sails To Race and Save Tanon Straight

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Bigiw-Bugsay 2017 by Gregg Yan & Oceana (B)

“Sailing away to the sunset” is usually the final scene in a film, but for Oceana, it is the beginning of something exciting and fruitful. Keep in mind,  the Philippines is a sailing nation – a country of 7641 islands connected for thousands of years by waterways via various watercraft.

To celebrate the Month of the Oceans, Island Buzz Philippines, a water sports company dedicated to make Cebu the ‘Paddling Capital of the Philippines’, paid tribute to traditional Visayan sailing and paddling culture by organizing a Bigiw regatta. Held last 13 May in Moalboal, the second annual ‘Bigiw Bugsay’ event gathered both traditional sailors and modern stand-up paddle-boarders in the biggest flotilla yet seen in Southern Cebu. More

Oceana Salutes DENR Lopez’s Bravery

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Oceana LogoMost Filipinos did  not take DENR Secretary Gina Lopez’s Rejection by the Commission on Appointments very well because of her passion and determination to truly help the environment and the people.  Unfortunately, money speaks louder and has more power over lives.  Oceana bravely releases a statement to acknowledge DENR Lopez’s contribution and dedication to the environment on behalf of the rest of the population who didn’t agree with the CA decision.  The environment can not afford to lose another ally, and the people won’t take this loss sitting down.

Oceana’s Statement:

As Earth’s largest marine conservation nonprofit, Oceana commends the trail-blazing achievements of outgoing DENR Secretary Lopez in bravely pushing for policies to sustainably protect the country’s environmentally-critical areas including protected seascapes and save them from destructive activities that threaten their ecological integrity.

Secretary Lopez has set the highest standards for environmental stewardship and mainstreamed partnerships with civil society organizations – a feat that merits replication by her successor.

Her commitment and sterling leadership in ensuring justice and equity especially to affected communities most dependent on a vibrant web of life is her most precious legacy for all of us. Oceana is most grateful.

Amended Fisheries Code Clarified by Oceana

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Oceana Fisheries PrimerPrimer<http://ph.oceana.org/publications/reports/amended-fisheries-code-primer> serves as a simple guide for fishers, local government units and the general public to understand and follow the amended Fisheries Code

Press Update:
The Philippine Fisheries Code (Republic Act 8550) was amended on 27 February 2015 by RA 10654, providing higher penalties while mandating better monitoring systems to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Top marine conservation group Oceana Philippines recently launched a simple primer on RA 10654 in Cebu City. The handy, notebook-sized booklet is meant to serve as a simple guide for fishers and private institutions to better understand the amended Fisheries Code, while helping government agencies enforce the law and empowering citizens to know their rights.

“The amended code is a Godsend for the fisheries sector – but understanding a set of complicated rules might not be easy for all. To address this, we created printed and downloadable primers. We hope this makes the implementation of the amended Fisheries Code faster,” shares Oceana Philippines Vice-President Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos.

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PH Govt Urged to Protect Benham Rise

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Philippine Flag ©OceanaUPLB
Press Update:
Oceana, Earth’s largest international non-government organization working on ocean conservation, urged the Philippine government to protect Benham Rise – an undersea territory east of Luzon brimming with natural resources.

“Benham Rise is part of Philippine territory. We must exercise our sovereignty over this area and assert our rights. The immediate creation of a management framework to ensure the protection of this special place and the conservation of its marine resources is a compelling first step,” says lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice-President for Oceana Philippines.

The Department of National Defense (DND) recently disclosed that a Chinese vessel conducted an unsanctioned survey in the region, believed to be rich in both marine and mineral resources.

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Ipo Watershed Rangers Get Needed Support Against Illegal Loggers

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ipo-watershed-by-gregg-yan-wwf

Ipo Watershed by Gregg Yan & WWF

They don’t pack high-tech gear nor high-caliber weapons, but the Dumagat rangers of Ipo Watershed patrol Bulacan’s forests like it were their home. Because it is.

“Sometimes we spend up to three days patrolling these mountains,” gestures veteran ranger Bayani Cruz to the distant mountains east of Ipo Dam, already scarred by kaingin or slash-and burn farmers. “Conditions are rough, especially during the monsoon season, when rivers swell and trails turn to streams – but we always do our duty. We earn only one hundred Pesos per day – but we don’t do this just for money. We are Dumagat. We were born in the forest and we are just protecting our homes.”

Sporting simple tools and gear donated by mountaineers, the rangers work day and night to protect the Sierra Madre mountain range against illegal loggers, slash-and-burn farmers and charcoal collectors. With little gear and basic pay, they’ve had a tough run, but they finally got help.

Last 10 January, the watershed’s rangers received solar lamps and mobile chargers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and AVolution, a digital signage solutions company whose core business is to supply and install LED screens across the Philippines. A total of 52 lamps were made available to the rangers to augment their capacity to patrol at night, while allowing them to charge their mobile phones and other communications gear, increasing the range of foot patrols.

“Our LED There be Light initiative illuminates distant communities and helps locals do their jobs without relying on dangerous, dirty and expensive kerosene or carbide lamps,” explains AVolution’s President and General Manager Lani Kimber Campos. AVolution also gave 200 solar lamps to farmers in Brgy. Tiniguiban, Gumaca, Quezon Province last year.

Ipo Watershed, together with the Angat and Umiray watersheds, supply 98% of the water consumed by Metro Manila. Situated northeast of the sprawling Metropolis, it covers 7161 hectares in Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan, plus Rodriguez in Rizal.

Sadly, the watershed’s forests are in full retreat. Though protected by several proclamations including a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for the Indigenous Dumagat tribes of the watershed, the area is pockmarked by patches of bare soil. From 85%, forest cover plummeted to 40% in recent years. The government and groups like the UP Mountaineers have been helping locals protect the watershed.

WWF and its allies, which include Banco de Oro, Samsung and the Sunlife Foundation, recently joined the fray. “The deployment of solar lamps is just part of a larger initiative to protect the entire watershed,” explains WWF-Philippines Project Manager Paolo Pagaduan, who formerly oversaw a watershed conservation project in Rizal.

“We’re now working to develop a sustainable watershed management plan, form an effective management body for all micro-watersheds, aid groundwater recharge, minimize erosion and siltation, mitigate pollution through waste management, conduct regular monitoring and the evaluation of interventions and replant denuded areas to provide livelihood opportunities and maximize forest recovery. Simply put, we’re going beyond tree-planting,” he explains.
Through the efforts of the aptly-named Bayani, plus the rest of the rangers protecting the Ipo Watershed, Metro Manila’s 12 million residents can rest easy, knowing there will always be water to drink.

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