The United States government and development NGO Impl. Project Philippines launched a fisherfolk cooperative in Aparri, Cagayan Valley as part of a P22.4 million ($400,000) U.S.-funded program to support resilient fishing communities in the Philippines.

Through this cooperative, 26 fisherfolk in Aparri will benefit from strengthened coordination in fishing activities, improved physical security, and low-interest loans that will enable members to finance essential needs such as boat repairs.  Beneficiaries will also receive training and equipment that will help them improve their catch and enhance their capacity to monitor marine poachers.

“The U.S. government is proud to collaborate with Impl. Project Philippines and the municipal government of Aparri on this initiative to support livelihoods and sustainable economic development in Cagayan,” U.S. Embassy Public Engagement Program Officer Nina Lewis said at the Aparri fisherfolk cooperative launch event at the Aparri municipal hall. 

“We accept the challenge to carry out this project.  The equipment and training that we will receive through this program will have a huge impact on us, our families, and the whole community here in Cagayan,” Aparri fisherfolk cooperative president Rashep Valencia said.

“This project will bring development and growth to the region. The equipment will increase the ability of responders and boat captains to communicate during emergencies, which can save lives,” Philippine National Police Regional Maritime Unit 2 Commander Col. Antonio Dizon said.

The cooperative in Aparri is the third cooperative created under this program.  In 2020, the U.S. government and Impl. Project Philippines launched the Unified Livelihood Agriculture Cooperative (ULAC) in Masinloc, Zambales.  ULAC provided 80 fisherfolk with training, safety equipment, and non-predatory low-interest loans that sustained their livelihood after the presence of foreign vessels prevented their access to their traditional fishing grounds in Scarborough Shoal.

The second cooperative, the Bangsa’Sug Fisherfolks of Patikul Sulu, was launched in Jolo, Sulu earlier this year.