DECLARING THE MONTH OF MAY AS "THE MONTH OF THE OCEAN" IN THE PHILIPPINES AND PROVIDING FOR THE CONDUCT OF ACTIVITIES FOR ITS DECLARATION.
WHEREAS, the Philippines is an archipelago endowed with vast coastal and ocean resources that include critical habitats such as mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds, alluring seascapes, and rare marine flora and fauna;
WHEREAS, these coastal and marine resources provide both economic and ecological benefits such as food, livelihood, recreation and other services, as well as biodiversity, aesthetic value, and shoreline protection;
WHEREAS, the Philippine Constitution affirms that it is the responsibility of the State to protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and to reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens;
WHEREAS, the Philippines supports global initiatives towards environmental management and protection by adopting and developing a Philippine Agenda 21 in response to Agenda 21 of the United Nations, and by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
WHEREAS, the year 1998 has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of the Ocean and has provided a "window of opportunity for governments, organizations, and individuals to become aware of the ocean and to consider the actions needed to undertake common responsibility to sustain the greatest common heritage we have and without which we cannot exist";
WHEREAS, the Philippines is committed to the sustainable use and management of ocean and coastal resources which are vital life-support systems and economic assets where benefits should accrue to both present and future generations of Filipinos;
WHEREAS, Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 has reiterated in Section 2 thereof the policy to attain rational and sustainable development, management and conservation of the fishery and aquatic resources in Philippine waters including the EEZ and in the adjacent high seas;
WHEREAS, under the Local Government Code of 1991, the primary responsibility for management of municipal waters has largely been devolved to the local government units as coastal communities represent the locus of implementing sound coastal resource management practices;
WHEREAS, various National
Government Agencies have been mandated to promote sustainable development
of coastal and marine resources and ensure that the marine environment
is protected from all forms of degradation;
WHEREAS, the month of May in the Philippines marks a culmination of activities geared towards the use and appreciation of our ocean resources, including tourism, marine transport, and educational and scientific activities;
WHEREAS, the month of May provides an assured venue for direct beneficiaries to show their support for management initiatives pertaining to the oceans;
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, and in accordance therewith, do hereby ordain the following:
Section 1: Observance of "The Month of the Ocean". Every month of May in every year is to be celebrated as "The Month of the Ocean" in the Philippines.
Section 2: Lead agencies. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), in collaboration with relevant government agencies, all local governments, state colleges and universities, government-owned or controlled corporations whose operations are directly or indirectly relevant to the development and management of our ocean resources, non-governmental organizations, people's organizations, and the private sector, shall spearhead the observance of "The Month of the Ocean" of each year through the conduct of activities that highlight the conservation, protection and sustainable management of Philippine coastal and ocean resources.
Section 3: Institutionalization of Ocean and Coastal Management Initiatives. All national agencies and local governments which are mandated to perform ocean resource management functions are hereby directed to provide full support to the observance of "The Month of the Ocean in the Philippines".
Section 4: Coordination. The DENR and the DA-BFAR, is hereby directed to establish coordinative and oversight mechanisms to all organizations and institutions involved in the monthly celebration of the month of the ocean.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.
Done in the City of Manila, this 09th day of January, in the Year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine.
By the President: