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Cong. Tan champions Bantay Dagat Benefits and Incentives Act in Congress

By Rowena Cruz Bantay Dagat (Photo from PNA) LUCENA CITY, Quezon – Cong. Keith Micah "Atorni Mike" Tan of Quezon's 4th Dis...

By Rowena Cruz

Cong. Tan champions Bantay Dagat Benefits and Incentives Act in Congress
Bantay Dagat (Photo from PNA)

LUCENA CITY, Quezon – Cong. Keith Micah "Atorni Mike" Tan of Quezon's 4th District has introduced a landmark bill in Congress aimed at providing substantial benefits and incentives to accredited Bantay Dagat volunteers across the Philippines. This initiative is a direct response to a recent study affirming the effectiveness of the Bantay Dagat Program, where local fishermen volunteer to protect their waters from illegal fishing activities.

House Bill No. 9397, known as the Bantay Dagat Benefits and Incentives Act, proposes a comprehensive package of support for these volunteers. The proposed benefits include insurance and PhilHealth coverage, hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, training and educational opportunities, free legal services, and preferential access to loans.

"Our Bantay Dagat volunteers are the unsung heroes of our marine resources," Cong. Tan stated. "Their tireless efforts safeguard not only our environment but also the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos who depend on the fishing industry. It's high time we recognize their invaluable contribution and provide them with the support they rightfully deserve."

The bill's scope extends beyond Bantay Dagat to include Bantay Lawa, Bantay Ilog, Bantay Pampang, and Bantay Bakawan volunteers, recognizing the interconnectedness of the country's diverse ecosystems and the vital role these volunteers play in their protection.

Cong. Tan underscored the significance of the bill for the Filipino people, noting that over 30 million citizens rely on marine resources for their livelihood. "By preserving our natural resources, we not only strengthen our environment but also bolster a significant portion of our national economy," he explained.

The Bantay Dagat Benefits and Incentives Act is expected to encourage greater community involvement in managing and conserving marine resources. This, in turn, is projected to lead to a more sustainable and prosperous fishing industry for the Philippines.

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