The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has allocated P4.95 million worth of equipment and capacity-building programs to empower the fisherfolk in Pag-asa Island, located in the municipality of Kalayaan.
These provisions include fishing gear such as fish stalls, fish containers, plastic floaters, twines, lead sinkers, and deep-sea payao. Additionally, post-harvest equipment such as blast freezers, ice coolers, industrial weighing scales, crate storages, a seawater flake ice machine, and a generator set have been provided.
To assist the fishing community of Pag-asa Island in preserving the economic value of their catch, DA-BFAR personnel will conduct training sessions on proper fish handling, good manufacturing practices, and sanitation standards.
The transportation of the assistance was facilitated by BRP Francisco Dagohoy (MMOV 5002), a multi-mission offshore civilian patrol vessel. It embarked on a two-day journey from Puerto Princesa to Pag-asa Island on Monday, June 12, in commemoration of the 125th Philippine Independence Day.
During the send-off ceremony at Oyster Bay Naval Base in Brgy. Macarascas, DA-BFAR National Director Atty. Demosthenes Escoto emphasized that the voyage was part of the government’s initiative to strengthen support for the fisheries sector and remote coastal communities, following Malacañang’s directive.
“Itong paglalayag ng DA-BFAR upang maghatid ng suportang pangkabuhayan para sa mga residente at mangingisda ng Pag-asa Island ay isang inisyatiba ayon sa tagubilin ng ating Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. na paigtingin ang pagbibigay ng suporta sa sektor ng mga mangingisda, maging sa mga malalayong baybaying komunidad,” Escoto said.
“Binibigyang-pugay natin ang magiting na pakikipagbalikatan sa DA-BFAR ng ating mga kapwa-lingkod bayan sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno. Sa pamamagitan ng ating pagtutulungan ay naipararating natin ang tulong ng pamahalaan sa ating mga mangingisda maging sa malalayong dako ng ating karagatan,” he added.
The livelihood aid will be provided to members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolks Association, as well as the Spratlys Strong and Brave Women Association.
Furthermore, Escoto revealed that the Bureau has plans to provide additional livelihood inputs to Filipino fisherfolk in the West Philippine Sea and adjacent areas, with the aim of boosting their production.
Escoto said that over the years, the DA-BFAR has consistently supported fisheries activities in the region, particularly in Pag-asa Island, by supplying Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boats, hand lines, payao and lambaklad fishing technologies, marine engines, and post-harvest equipment to local fisherfolk.