The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill mandating the establishment of settlement areas for fishermen throughout the country.
The bill’s author, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, welcomed the passage of House Bill 6876, which provides 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,” Rodriquez said.
He said many fishermen and their families who had been displaced by previous typhoons were still housed in temporary shelter facilities.
Under the bill, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and local government units with jurisdiction over coastal and municipal waters would be required to establish settlement areas for fishermen with adequate access to fishing grounds as may be determined by the DA.
In case there are existing settlement sites near fishing grounds, the priority in the award of lots and dwelling units would be given to the fishermen who are registered as such with their LGUs and who have no real property.
The measure also provides that LGUs would include settlement areas for their fishermen-constituents in their comprehensive land use plans.
Rodriguez said HB 6876 would amend Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
He called for the expeditious enactment of the proposed law so the program of providing settlement areas for fishermen could begin soon.