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Legarda pushes for PENCAS, 'Blue Economy' bill

SAN JOSE, Antique (PIA) -- Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda pushed on the implementation of sustainable economic management with the submission of the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) bill and the "Blue Economy" bill.

The Antiqueña senator presided over the Subcommittee on Economic Affairs' joint hearing with the Committees on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, and Finance, which tackled the two mentioned significant bills.

In a press release, she said that this is probably the best time to institute this commonsensical approach to managing our national patrimony, but the truly best time would have been when she first filed the Philippine Economic, Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting (PEENRA) bill in 2007.

“We would have realized then what we stood to lose, the damage we stood to suffer, and we would have planned and invested accordingly," Legarda said.

She also underscored the need for comprehensive planning and investment to address the potential losses and damages to the nation's resources.

Acknowledging the full support of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Climate Change Commission (CCC), Legarda expressed her optimism that the time has come for concrete action.

"Restoration must use economic indicators that value more than just the incomes and ignore the destruction of our natural capital in generating revenues and in calculating what is lost," she stated.

Legarda added that as we face an age of changing climate and unprecedented biodiversity loss, the challenge is how we can use our vulnerability as an opportunity to examine the role and impact of natural resources on the economic growth of a developing nation such as the Philippines.

The proposed PENCAS aims to integrate environmental inputs and outputs into national income accounts, accurately reflecting the country's development and economic performance.

Aside from the PENCAS bill, Legarda also championed the Blue Economy bill.

The hearing addressed the promotion of effective maritime governance, which is crucial for ensuring the sustainability of the blue economy and safeguarding the Philippines' maritime interests.

Legarda explained that the United Nations defines the blue economy as a range of economically sustainable activities related to oceans, seas, and coastal areas, focusing on social equity.

"We are a maritime nation with up to 88% of our territory covering 2.2 million square kilometers of water area, so it is crucial to enhance the health and well-being of marine resources for coastal communities and aid preservation efforts for the environment," she said. (AGP/OSLL/PIA Antique)

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