The Committee on Agriculture of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has recommended to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) that it conduct a province-wide caravan for the registration of fishing vessels and gear.

Agriculture committee chairman Board Member Ariston Arzaga said the plan was agreed upon in a meeting with concerned agencies, particularly the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Coast Guard District-Palawan (CGD-Pal), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the OPA.

Arzaga said the caravan was agreed upon after problems concerning the registration of fishing gear and vessels were getting delayed.

He also presented a schedule of the caravan, prepared by provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabuncal, which will run from the months of March to August.

The proposed schedules are as follows: March 14-17 in Balabac; March 30-31 in Quezon and Rizal; April 13-14 in Brooke’s Point and Española; April 27-28 in Narra and Aborlan; May 16-19 in Roxas; in San Vicente, Taytay, and El Nido; June 7-8 in Araceli and Dumaran; July 16-22 in Cuyo, Magsaysay and Agutaya; and August 14-19 in Coron, Culion, Busanga, and .

“I hope we can do this to help our fishermen and other boat operators in the tourism sector, who up until now have not had their vessels registered,” Arzaga said in his privilege speech during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session last Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Board Member Ryan Maminta said the plan should be discussed further to make sure the caravan runs smoothly.

“We need to lay out the mechanisms of the visitation and the rest of the actions to be taken by the committee and by the respective agencies with respect to the benefits of our fishermen in the area,” Maminta said.

He said that aside from the registration, they should also hold dialogues with the fishermen, which were not discussed in the meeting.

“What we are trying to get or achieve from the request beforehand to have this dialog with fisherfolk is for the BFAR and the rest to be able to inform our fisherfolk regarding the registration of their vessels and gears. So the mechanisms need to be discussed,” he explained.