The NEDA Region IV-A has been exerting efforts to respond to the new status of tawilis after the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared in January 2019 that the only freshwater sardine is now an endangered species.

The NEDA Region IV-A participated and recommended an action plan on tawilis protection and conservation during a conference on February 8 attended by the Region IV-A offices of BFAR, DENR, DOT, DSWD, NEDA, the Southern Luzon Command of AFP and Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog.

The draft action plan on tawilis was reviewed and endorsed by the Sectoral Committee on Economic Development during its meeting on February 12 to the Regional Development Council.

The Tawilis Action Plan includes the creation of an inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) and activities for the protection and conservation of tawilis. The TWG will be led by the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape-Protected Area Management Board and comprised of the Batangas State University, University of the Philippines-Los Baños and Region IV-A offices of DENR, DILG, DPWH, DOLE, DOT, DTI, DSWD and NEDA. The TWG will be responsible in implementing the Action Plan for the protection and conservation of tawilis.

The Action Plan will be conveyed to the Provincial Governments of Batangas and Cavite and concerned agencies. The RDC will request them to enjoin the concerned local government units to enact ordinances to implement the recommended actions.

The NEDA Region IV-A will also participate in an inter-agency field inspection of the Taal Lake on February 16 and in the Tawilis Summit on February 19.

Revy Z. Jolongbayan, NEDA Region IV-A | February 18, 2019