By Billy Begas
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure seeking the establishment of settlement areas for fisherfolk throughout the country.
Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said House Bill 6876 measure aims to provide permanent housing sites for people engaged in fishing in the provinces.
“Most of them are in coastal areas. They get dislocated whenever typhoons or other calamities devastate their communities. The government should provide housing for them,” said Rodriguez in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), and local government units (LGUs) with jurisdiction over coastal and municipal waters are mandated to establish settlement areas for fisherfolk with adequate access to fishing grounds.
In case there are existing settlement sites near fishing grounds, priority in the award of lots and dwelling units shall be given to fisherfolk who are registered as such with their LGUs and who have no real property.
The measure also provides that LGUs shall include settlement areas for their fishermen-constituents in their comprehensive land use plans.
Rodriguez said the bill would amend the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (Republic Act No. 8550).