In his recent visit to the Philippines and interview with the local media on Tuesday, September 14, New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan announced that the national government of New Zealand (NZ), through the New Zealand Aid Program, has launched a project to help small fishing communities in Busuanga, Palawan. According to Strachan, the NZ Government, with the help of different local and international non-government organizations (NGO), has been “more than willing” to give aid to the agricultural and business sectors of the province.
Program Manager Raphael Ylade said the program specifically aims to empower communities in the coastal areas of Busuanga and help in advancing the role of small fishermen in coastal management. Aside from this, it also seeks to develop livelihood opportunities for the wives of the fishermen, mainly by providing them with the right skills and knowledge to sustainably manage their primary source of living.
Currently, the program has organized three ‘fishermen groups’ in the area, namely Bantay Dugong Association, Busuanga Women for Dugongs, and a volunteer group called Bogtong Environmental Management Team. The groups, which are presently being registered with the Department of Labor and Employment, have been conducting team building activities, as well as seminars on community development and coastal resources sustainability.
The said program for Busuanga fishermen adds to the existing program supported by the New Zealand government in Palawan, specifically the ‘Roots of Health’ organization, an non-profit group that helps women and children.