Verde Island Passage as a marine protected area sought
Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2014 - 12:03pm

MANILA, Philippines - A legislator is seeking  the government to declare a body of water in Oriental Mindoro as  a marine protected area and eco-tourism zone.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali filed House Bill 3086, mandating the environment  and tourism departments, local government units and other  government agencies to prepare a marine protected area and eco-tourism master plan.

"As a Marine Protected Area and Eco-tourism Zone, the Verde Island Passage shall be subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of an eco-tourism zone," Umali said.

He said the country should formulate effective strategies to conserve its resources and enable the industry to become a major source of livelihood and employment as well as rationalize all efforts pertaining to environmental protection.

"Aggressive measures seeking to restore the country's share in the global tourist market shall be consistent with the preservation of the natural environment and the ecosystem," Umali said.

Umali said the Oriental Mindoro province is bestowed with various natural aquatic treasures, one of which is the Verde Island Passage.

He noted that America's Smithsonian Institute has described the Verde Island Passage as the center of the world's marine biodiversity.

"The passage is host to spectacular reef formations of more than 300 species of coral and underwater rock canyons that is home to more than half of the worlds' known shore fish species," Umali said.

Umali said the Verde Island Passage is about 100 kilometers in length and about 20 kilometers across at its narrowest point.

The bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue the necessary rules and regulations, review and strengthen existing local structural frameworks to enhance cooperation and support, which shall ensure the preservation of the natural resources in the area.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES HOUSE BILL MARINE PROTECTED AREA AND ECO MINDORO ORIENTAL MINDORO ORIENTAL MINDORO REP REYNALDO UMALI SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE UMALI VERDE ISLAND PASSAGE
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