The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya sealed partnership to ensure the welfare of fishermen in the identified damaged areas of Typhoon Yolanda.
The partnership aims to help the affected fisher folks from the areas of Basey, Sta. Rita and Marabut in Samar and Dulag in Leyte. BFAR’s AHON! Initiative targets to serve around 135,000 fisher folks whose livelihood was destroyed by the typhoon. To date, AHON already released 11,000 boat materials, and 4,000 from these have started working.
BFAR National Director Atty. Asis Perez stated that the agency is looking into developing aquaculture industry so that fishermen will thrive on the business and not only depend on the catch from the sea. Fishing boats, motor engines, fishing gears and seaweed farm implements are also going to be distributed.
“Time will come when these fishermen will no longer be poor. Right now, they only enjoy 35% of their catch because of spoilage caused by the lack of facilities and infrastructure,” he said in Filipino.
The Aquaculture project of BFAR will provide every fisherman a cage containing milkfish, lapu-lapu and other kinds of fish that they can culture. The intervention of Sagip Kapamilya will greatly help in marketing and generating the value of produce to the larger public – eventually turning this simple livelihood into a booming business. Perez said that the benefits of this industry can be felt after three months, but it needs time to completely flourish.
“Now that they have their own boats, they can catch at least 10 kilos of fish , if they sell it at P50 a kilo, they can easily earn P500,” he added.
Sagip Kapamilya has also started empowering the communities through training them on how to manage sustainable livelihood. On the other hand, BFAR already distributed cages and seaweed inputs to 5,000 families.
Gina Lopez of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya is optimistic about the success of this project that will benefit the fishermen. “We love our fishermen. We have lots of fishermen so we need to remove them from poverty. together with the help of the government and ABS-CBN, we can do this,” she enthused.