The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) rolled out fisheries livelihood support to more than 100 fisherfolk of the Municipality of Kalayaan during a ceremony at Naval Tide Pole, Puerto Princesa on Friday, June 17.
Among the beneficiaries of 20 units of 38-footer fishing boats are the Kalayaan Fisherfolk Organization and the Spratly’s Strong and Brave Women’s Association (SSBWA).
“This project is not just for food security. We (Bureau) are here (also) for maritime security. Kasi sabi nga nila, either we use it, or we lose it,” says Atty. Benjamin Tabios Jr., Assistant Regional Director who gave a message in lieu of Drusila Esther Bayate from the Office of the BFAR Director.
The fishing boats were constructed in BFAR’s boat building site in the municipality of Rizal, Palawan. BFAR will transport the boats to Kalayaan thru the assistance of Philippine Navy, which has been actively collaborating with them in facilitating fisheries livelihood for the people living in the said municipality, Tabios added.
Aside from the “unsinkable” boats with vacuumed compartments, fishermen received livelihood inputs like fishing gears and several units of shallow water payaos (fish aggregating device), as a means of promoting inclusive growth and improving the quality of life in far-flung fishing communities.
Outgoing Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, Jr. of Kalayaan thanked BFAR and Philippine Navy for the realization of this project which according to him is a product of “long talk and process.”
Roberto Asiado, representative of Kalayaan Fisherfolk and Mary Joy Batiancila, president of SSWBA also expressed their gratitude for choosing them as recipients of the said project.
Aside from fisheries inputs, BFAR has also brought down rainwater collector facilities, which would allow communities to collect fresh water for their daily subsistence.
Meanwhile, Tabios also confirmed that there is an on-going exploratory talk between BFAR and concerned stakeholders on the possibility of launching a seaweeds project for the people of Kalayaan.
(with excerpts from BFAR’s press release)