Updates on the 16th National Tuna Congress Resolutions

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Every year, the National Tuna Congress passes a set of  resolutions. These resolutions are proposals for policy or action, or both, which are put before the plenary for adoption. They often contain a declaration of principle as well as the demand for action or a change of policy. These resolutions are then circulated to concerned government agencies, organizations, and industry stakeholders for appropriate actions.

For months, the NTC Program and Resolution Committee drafts these resolutions to reflect current issues and concerns of the industry. These are a result of consultation, researches, deliberation and drafting with key industry stakeholders.

From the desk of Mr. Neil del Rosario , Co-Chairman of the 17th National Tuna Congress- Finance Committee ,General Manager, Rell & Renn Fishing Corp. Vice President of the Fresh Frozen Seafood of the Phils., Inc., below is an update on the resolutions submitted during the 16th National Tuna Congress:

Resolution no. 1

RESOLUTION EXPRESSING APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE TO THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE FISHERIES ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ON THE REGULATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES IN GROUP HAND LINE FISHING OPERATIONS IN THE HIGH SEAS OF THE WESTERN AND 
CENTRAL PACIFIC FISHERIES COMMISSION’S CONVENTION AREA 

Resolution no. 2

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD OF GENERAL SANTOS CITY TO EXPEDITE THE APPROVAL OF PROPOSED ORDINANCE NO. 2014-1018 ENTITLED, “AN ORDINANCE CREATING A CITY FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES OFFICE (CFARO), PROVIDING FOR ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” 

The life-giving support of the fishing industry of the city cannot be but overemphasized. It is the 
“Tuna Capital of the Philippines” being a consistent leader in fish landing volume more specifically 
of tuna and tuna-like species and being the home to six (6) of the country’s eight (8) tuna canning 
plants. 

However, the City Agriculturist’s Office assigned to work on the fisheries sector and fisheries-
related activities of the city has inadequate number of employees. There is a compelling need to 
create a Local Fisheries Office, considering its distinct functions and scope of coverage, with an 
expanded and wider scope of powers and authority, to ensure a more effective and efficient 
delivery of basic services. The creation of the CFARO will be a significant breakthrough in 
providing utmost protection to city waters and marine resources. 


However, concerns were raised and discussed by the local government of Gensan and Committee 

of Fisheries Marine Life, and Aquatic Resources under Hon. Brix Tan relating to budget ceiling and 
process of hiring employees. Thus, they considered establishing a division instead within the City 
Agriculturist Office to focus on the fisheries sector. 

 Resolution no. 3

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD RESOLUTION NO. 9910, SERIES OF 2014 ENTITLED, “URGING THE COASTAL BARANGAYS AND INLAND FISHING COMMUNITIES OF GENERAL SANTOS CITY TO ESTABLISH AND/OR REACTIVATE THEIR BARANGAY FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES MANAGEMENT COUNCILS (BFARMCS), FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERY AT THE BARANGAY LEVEL 

The establishment of Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (BFARMC) will ensure that the management of fisheries and aquatic resources shall be effected by the government 
through the active and extensive participation of the people directly affected. 


The Local Government Unit of General Santos City through the City Agriculturist Office and Hon. Brix Tan, conducted information and education campaign in several barangays such as Baluan, Buayan, Siguel, and the General Santos Fishport. Facilitation on the formation of fishing organizations was also conducted. Establishment of fishing sector organizations is essential to the creation and strengthening of BFARMC and the CFARMC. 



Ongoing efforts in the institutionalization of BFARMCs and the CFARMCs are being carried out which 

include establishment of the task force and hiring of project-based employees to focus on the matter. 
Currently, Project design and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with concerned agencies are being 
drafted. 


 Resolution no. 4


RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE 1ST MSME REGIONAL CONGRESS RESOLUTION NO. 1, SERIES OF 2014 ENTITLED, “URGING THE MINDANAO DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (MINDA) TO ENSURE PRIORITIZATION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF RELIABLE POWER SUPPLY IN REGION 12 WHILE ESTABLISHING CONTROL MECHANISMS TO SAFEGUARD POWER RATES AFFORDABILITY TO MICRO, SMALL, AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSMES) IN THE AREA 

 The abysmal power supply situation has affected the operations of the businesses in the area 
bringing commercial and opportunity losses. We have seen businesses retrenching, and worst 
closing down as a result. 


Following are the updates on the efforts being carried out by the government through the 

Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC1): 


1 The MPMC, which was created by the virtue of Executive Order No. 81 on 30 July 2012, is mandated to spearhead and coordinate 

the efforts of the national, regional and local governments and power industry stakeholders to improve the power situation in 
Mindanao. 


Among the monitoring/facilitation of MPMC Short Term Measures are the following: 



‧ Upgrating and Rehab of Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Electric Complexes (APHEC) 

‧ Reopening of IIigan Diesel Power Plant (IDPP) 
‧ Modular GenSets Program 
‧ Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM) 
‧ One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center 
‧ Energy Resources Assessment for Hydro and Biomass 
‧ Mindanao Power Data Portal 



For SOCOTECO 2 which serves the areas of General Santos City and surrounding municipalities, 

they currently have power supply contracts amounting 155.03MW surpassing the 2015 projected 
peak demand of 141.77MW. The following are its power suppliers as of 2014: 


‧ National Power Corporation (NPC) / Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. 

(PSALM) – 59.13MW (average) 
‧ Therma Marine (TMI) - 30MW 
‧ Iligan Diesel Power Plant (IDPP)/Mapalad Power Corp - 30MW 
‧ SO Energy International, Inc. – 15MW 
‧ Peak Power Socsargen – 20.9MW 

Moreover, the 2 x 100MW (200MW) Southern Mindanao Coal Fired Power Station in Brgy. 
Kamanga, Maasim, Sarangani is targeted for commercial operation in September 2015. 
SOCOTECO 2 contracted a total of 70MW of additional capacity from the aforementioned power 
plant enabling them eventually reduce their reliance on more expensive Diesel fired power plants. 


Furthermore, a total of 42 pending renewable projects (444.91MW) in Region 12 are being 

facilitated by the One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC). 


With committed projects coming online on top of the numerous RE power potentials available for 

Region 12, MinDA is optimistic in achieving the target of reliable, sustainable, and affordable 
power supply which will meet the growth of your area’s power supply requirements this year and 
beyond. 

Resolution 5

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO CREATE A HIGHLY MIGRATORY FISHERIES MANAGEMENT DIVISION UNDER THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES 

Received no updates from Bureau of Fisheries of Aquatics Resources 

Resolution no. 6

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT AND THE HOUSE OF CONGRESS FOR THE APPROVAL OF THE PHP 959 MILLION BUDGET PROPOSAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS (DOTC) FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW PASSENGER TERMINAL BUILDING AND OTHER FACILITIES AT THE GENERAL SANTOS CITY AIRPORT IN CY 2015 

It is a known fact that the General Santos City Airport mainly serves the air transport requirements 
of the greater part of Region 12. Plus, it is the entry point to rest of the SOCCSKSARGEN Area. 


Thus, we are pleased to inform you that the Php 959Million budget proposal of DOTC for the 

construction/ renovation of a new passenger terminal building and other facilities at the General 
Santos City Airport in CY 2015 were already approved and the following are the components of the 
said project: 


 PhP 497 Million Construction/ improvement of the GSC Airport 

 PhP 121 Million renovation for the existing terminal building 
 PhP 100 Million Miscellaneous (access road and parking area) 
 PhP 240 Million Installation of Navigational Aid 



At present, the finalization of detailed engineering designs and lay-out are being undertaken by 

DOTC- Project Development Service (PDS), after which the Term of Reference (TOR) for procurement will be prepared by the same office. Procurement of the said project will commence on the 3rd quarter of the year and implementation of the project is targeted to start on December 2015. 



Resolution no. 7

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE MARITIME INDUSTRY AUTHORITY (MARINA) TO CRAFT AND IMPLEMENT A SEPARATE CIRCULAR ON MINIMUM SAFE MANNING SPECIFICALLY FOR FISHING VESSELS 


Operations of Philippine fishing vessels and the working conditions therein are unique and 
different from other marine vessels, including the peculiar operations of small- and medium-
scale purse seiners which usually operate as a group and, consequently, entails different manning requirements. 


It is important to note that skills of personnel onboard fishing vessels require a certain degree of 

specialization. However, this may not necessarily be guaranteed by a college degree or certain 
level of educational specification. Thus, in practice, skills and learning experience achieved over 
time have been used as fundamental basis over educational attainment. 


Hence, it is necessary that the Philippine government, through MARINA, draft, issue, and 

implement a separate Memorandum Circular on Safe Manning Requirements particularly for 
fishing vessels after an in-depth assessment and a comprehensive stakeholder consultation. 


Currently, MARINA is still in process of reviewing the Circular on the Minimum Safe Manning of 

ships. Though not in a separate circular, the manning level for the fishing boats is already 
separate from other ships. This manning level for fishing boats reflected on the same circular is 
generally lower, both in number and ranks, as compared to other ships. 

Resolution no. 8

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TO INCLUDE THE SOCSKSARGEN FEDERATION OF FISHING AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES, INC. AS MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF THE MARITIME INDUSTRY AUTHORITY 

The MARINA Board prescribes and promulgates rules and regulations for the growth and 
effective regulation of the maritime industry in the country. 


Private sectors active involvement on policy/circular deliberation is expediently necessary to 

lobby concerns relating to the operations of the industry. Regrettably the composition is prescribed by law and does not allow representations from the private sector. 


Hence, the request to both of Houses of the Congress to amend Republic Act 10635 entitled, “An 

Act Establishing The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) As The Single Maritime Administration Responsible For The Implementation And Enforcement Of The 1978 International Convention On Standards Of Training, Certification And Watchkeeping For Seafarers, As Amended, And International Agreements Or Covenants Related Thereto”, specifically the inclusion of a representative of the fisheries industry sector in the MARINA board. 

Resolution no. 9

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO INCLUDE THE SOCSKSARGEN FEDERATION OF FISHING AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES, INC. AS MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF THE PHILIPPINE FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 


The PFDA Board is vested with powers and responsibilities to promote growth in the fishing industry and improve efficiency in handling, preserving, marketing, and distribution of fish and fishery products. This is through the establishment and administration of fish ports, fish markets, and other infrastructure necessary for the progressive advancement of the fishing industry. 


However, representations from the private sector to be members of the Board shall be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Minister of Natural Resources. 



Thus, a new resolution drafted address to the President of the Philippines to consider the representative of the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. as one of the two private sector representatives to the board of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority. 


Resolution no. 10

RESOLUTION REITERATING THE REQUEST OF THE TUNA INDUSTRY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE IMPLEMENTING RULES & REGULATIONS (IRR) OF REPUBLIC ACT 9379, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “HANDLINE FISHING LAW” BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (DA) AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS (DOTC) AND OTHER CONCERNED AGENCIES 

The issuance of the IRR has been a continuing clamor for the past four (4) National Tuna Congresses since the passage of RA 9379 also known as the in 2007. Nonetheless, the proposed IRR has not yet been issued and is still in the process of consideration between and among the different concerned government agencies. 


The issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9379 is long overdue and there is 

an urgent need to expedite the passage thereof to realize the policies and objectives of the law. 

Resolution no. 11

RESOLUTION REITERATING THE REQUEST OF THE TUNA INDUSTRY TO REVIEW THE FISHERIES ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER (FAO) 224 ON “ESTABLISHMENT OF TUNA PRODUCTIVITY PROJECT (TPP) IN DAVAO GULF” AND SUBSEQUENTLY IDENTIFY AND DESIGNATE OTHER AREAS AS EXCLUSIVE FISHING GROUNDS FOR HANDLINE FISHING 

Received no updates from Bureau of Fisheries of Aquatics Resources

Resolution no. 12

RESOLUTION REITERATING THE REQUEST OF THE TUNA INDUSTRY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT CREATING A PHILIPPINE COMMITTEE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF HIGHLY MIGRATORY FISHERIES 


The proposed Executive Order in creating a Philippine Committee for the Advancement of Highly Migratory Fisheries was deliberated in various meetings and recommended of the National 
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (NFARMC) 


However, this has not yet been signed by the Office of the President. 


Resolution no. 13

RESOLUTION REITERATING THE REQUEST OF THE TUNA INDUSTRY FOR THE CONCERNED AGENCIES OF THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO RATIONALIZE THE CABOTAGE PROVISIONS OF THE REPUBLIC ACT 1937 AND OTHER RELATED ISSUANCES 

It is a sad known truth that shipping, freight, and transportation costs constitute a significant portion of the operating costs of the fishing industry in terms of movements of raw materials, production inputs, and finished products. 


We bring good news and we are pleased to announced tp you that the amendments to the Cabotage Law were signed and passed on July 21, 2015 as Republic Act no. 10668, or the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, also known as the Cabotage Law. 



This will allow foreign vessels to call in multiple ports provided that their cargoes are intended for import or export and are duly cleared by the Philippine Customs. Consequently, this will bring competition, reduce logistic costs, decongest Manila Port, and spur economic activity in areas 

beyond Manila. 

Resolution no. 14

RESOLUTION REQUESTING BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS TO ENSURE THE SAFE AND FREE MOVEMENT OF FISHING VESSELS IN THE BANGSAMORO WATERS WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COST IN THE BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW 

Tuna industry players urged the Congress to ensure that tuna fishing activities in the seas off western Mindanao and the nearby areas will not be hampered once the proposed Bangsamoro region would be established. 


The Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation to the annexes on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, and Power Sharing provided that the Bangsamoro waters shall extend up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low-water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro political entity. 



The Philippine Government through Mindanao Development Authority warranted that the Bangsamoro Waters in the BBL is the equivalent of the municipal waters in other local government units. Therefore, the rights and obligations the owners of fishing vessels currently have over LGU municipal waters may still be enjoyed and upheld by them over the Bangsamoro waters that includes the safe and free passage of fishing vessel. 



"The NTC normally do not expect 100% outcome on resolutions as some resolutions may take time to resolve specially those involving policy changes and large capital outlays. We would like to thank the government agencies and local government units for acting on the resolutions," Del Rosario added.

The 17th National Tuna Congress is also set to pass a resolution before the plenary on Sept 3-4, 2015 at the Trade Halls of SM City General Santos.

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