Legarda Continues to Provide Assistance to Antique Fisherfolk

August 19, 2020

Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda continues to value the natural resources of Antique and the untiring labor of the Antiqueños as she brings to the province programs and assistance for sustainable livelihood in the fisheries sector.

“Antique has abundant marine resources. Majority of Antiqueños depend on the coastal biodiversity for their daily food consumption and for their income. Thus, we have to further aid the fisherfolk with programs and services to protect their livelihood and at the same time maintain food security in the province,” Legarda said.

Legarda supported eight (8) priority fishery projects identified by BFAR in 2017, which include post-harvest kits, fish clads, fish carts, fish preservation technologies, input assistance to seaweed growers, payaw, tilapia culture, and catfish culture. During her stint in the Senate as the Chair of the Committee on Finance, Legarda also supported the allocation in the 2018 General Appropriations Act for these projects.

Under the 2018 allocation, a total of 100 beneficiaries from the municipalities of Sebaste, Tibiao, Pandan, San Jose and Sibalom received post-harvest equipment; five (5) beneficiaries from the municipalities of Tibiao, Pandan, San Jose, and Barbaza received fish carts; five (5) recipients of catfish culture are from the municipalities of San Remigio, San Jose, Sibalom, and Barbaza; and two (2) associations, the Belison Integrated Fisherfolks Association (BIFA) and the Samahang Mangingisda sa Brgy. 3 received payaw or fish aggregating device last July.

Also through Legarda’s initiative, additional allocation under 2019 GAA was provided to BFAR for the provision of additional fishing gears assistance to the fisherfolk of Antique. As of date, 140 beneficiaries received fry nets, 450 beneficiaries received multiple handlines, 210 beneficiaries received tuna handlines, 250 beneficiaries received bamboo fish traps, 350 beneficiaries receive gillnets, 250 beneficiaries received squid jiggers, 1,230 beneficiaries received life-saving kits, and 375 beneficiaries received support to light fishing. Moreover, 50 recipients from the municipalities of Culasi, Hamtic, Pandan, and San Jose will receive assistance to fry collectors, while the construction of 40 units of payaws is on-going for distribution in the municipalities of Anini-y, Barbaza, Belison, Bugasong, Culasi, Hamtic, Patnongon, and Tobias Fornier.

Meanwhile, the construction of a total of 200 units of 20-footer FRP boats has been completed, but awaiting underwater fittings and installation of marine engine. Once completed, these will be turned over to recipients from coastal municipalities. On the other hand, seven (7) 38-footer hand-liner boats to be used for patrolling are being constructed and will soon be turned over to beneficiaries, including the Fishery Law Enforcement of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and of BFAR. Another set of 175 ‘bandung’ boats with accessories are being constructed in the island municipality of Caluya to be used for seaweed farming of residents. In 2018, Legarda also supported the allocation of funds for the fabrication and distribution of 900 units of FRP boats to the fisheries sector of Antique.

To enhance the skills and knowledge in the fishing industry and to encourage abundant harvest and bigger earnings, BFAR also offered training programs to Antique’s fisherfolk. Last November 2019, training programs on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Responsible Fishing were conducted province-wide. Trainings on FRP boat repair and maintenance and project orientation on payaw were scheduled earlier this year, but were temporarily suspended due to the current pandemic.

Moreover, to provide better access for our fisherfolk to local markets and ensure the quality of their landed catch, Legarda supported the improvement/rehabilitation of 11 ports in the municipalities of Anini-y, Culasi, Pandan, Hamtic, Caluya, Barbaza, and Libertad under the budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). A fisherman’s wharf in Tibiao is also under construction under BFAR. In 2016, Legarda also initiated the establishment of 12 community fish landing centers (CFLC) in the coastal municipalities of Antique to serve as a hub for market and trade between the fisherfolk and the public and a venue for skills training and other fisheries-based livelihood.

To develop more competent students and fishery-ecotourism workforce in the province of Antique and promote the sustainable practices in the fisheries and the ecotourism industry, Legarda supported the proposal of the University of Antique for the establishment of a Fishery-Ecotourism Development Complex in the UA Tario Lim Memorial Campus in Tibiao. This is an initiative to develop the competencies of the students, conduct quality researches, encourage the transfer of technology, and promote livelihood related to fisheries and ecotourism in the province, which all aim to help and assist the fishing community of the province.

“Our province is highly reliant on our fisheries sector for livelihood and sustenance. Our food self-sufficiency is highly dependent on this sector and it is one of the backbones of the economy of our province. We have to continue to uplift our fisheries sector by providing proactive programs that would continue to protect our marine biodiversity and our fisherfolk who plays a significant role in our fight against poverty, in ensuring food security and in the over-all economic development of the province.” Legarda concluded.#