THE House of Representatives approved a bill declaring the month of June as Marine Turtle Conservation and Protection Month to promote the protection and conservation of marine turtles and important habitats where these species are present.
With 236 votes, the chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) No. 8503 authored by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe.
The bill aims to promote full awareness and widest dissemination of policies on marine turtle conservation and protection, and create and sustain awareness on the importance of the irreplaceable ecological roles played by marine turtle species to help sustain the health of the marine ecosystem.
“By approving this bill, the House hopes that we also encourage the advocacy on marine turtle protection and sustainability and inspire government agencies and the public to take part in this relevant mission,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said.
HB 8503 requires all heads of government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units (LGUs) to encourage and afford sufficient time and opportunities for their employees to engage and participate in any activity conducted in celebration of the “Marine Turtle Conservation and Protection Month”.
The proposed legislation also tasks the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with concerned government agencies, LGUs, and the private sector, to prepare and implement an annual program of activities.
The DENR will also undertake marine turtle information awareness and data sharing with the assistance of other national agencies and LGUs to further strengthen the enforcement of this measure.