House OKs reversion of unused fishponds to forest lands

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2023 12:23 AM

MANILA — Voting 284-0-0, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 7754, reverting fishponds abandoned or not utilized for three years to forest lands.

“This measure also aims to address the ill effects of climate change by actively promoting reforestation in areas that can be planted with trees. Instead of remaining an idle asset, these abandoned or unutilized fishponds can now be used to help in efforts to safeguard and protect the environment,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

The Speaker's office explained in a press release that the bill amends Sec. 43 of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the “Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines” and reduced from five years to three years the period needed to reforest un-utilized or abandoned fishponds and calls for their immediate rehabilitation.

It also said that the main objective of HB 7754 is to expedite the reversion of un-utilized or abandoned fishponds to forest lands so that these can be “immediately rehabilitated and reforested,” as required under the measure.

The House will submit the bill to the Senate for action.