Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go recognized the role of the fisherfolk in conserving the country’s aquatic resources in building a dependable fishing industry.
“Your collective efforts help supply food for our countrymen and create a strong and dependable fishing industry. May you continue to give the people the same efficient and reliable service in the years ahead,” said Go in his speech read by Assistant Secretary Vanessa Goc-ong on Monday.
Go, who was invited to grace the opening of the 55th Fish Conservation Week at Daliao Fishport in Toril here, underscored the importance in taking care of the environment, the ocean and the country’s natural resources.
“Kapag maayos ang ating pangangasiwa at pag-aaruga sa mga ito, higit na dadami ang ating fish stocks, magiging sapat ang supply ng isda at iba pang pagkaing dagat, at mas mapapabilis ang pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya (If we take care of our natural resources, fish stocks will increase, supply of fish and other sea food will be abundant and our economy will grow),” Go said.
Go noted that fish remains the staple food of Filipinos, “so we all know that if we don’t manage our fish stocks well and keep on overfishing or destroying their habitat, our country and our people will suffer.” “
“Whatever we do to the environment comes back to us. That is why we must preserve and protect the sources of our food. We must restore them too if they have been damaged. All of us must do our part,” he added.
Go also fulfilled his promise to 10 young fishermen who won during the Bancarera Competition last month that they will own motorboats to boost their income.
One of the beneficiaries, 24-year-old Aljed Sapilin of Sirawan, Toril, said he is grateful as for owning a fishing boat for the first time.
Sapilin said he was only renting his uncle’s fishing boat for his daily income and food, earning an average of PHP2,000 daily. He said some days are difficult because fish supply has declined and the governmetn has been strict in implementing fisheries laws.
Sapilin will be sharing his boat with his brother, who is also a fisherman.
Go also facilitated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the distribution of the motorized fiberglass motorboats during the event. Each motorboat comes with a package of fishnet and motor equipment that would cost around PHP65,000.
He said the boats are proof that BFAR and the government are truly committed to helping ordinary Filipinos have better lives.
“Sana sa pamamagitan ng mga bangkang ito, maraming ama ang dadaong na masaya tuwing umaga, maraming pamilya ang magkakaroon ng sapat na pagkain sa mesa, at maraming anak ang makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral (I hope that with these motorboats more heads of families will be happy every morning; many families will have enough food on the tables and more children will go to school),” he said.
BFAR Director Fatma Idris said the motorboats are also part of the government’s program to assist fisherfolk to earn their livelihood. BFAR also gave a PHP3 million check to the fisherfolk association of Davao City.
At PHP1,500 per month for each family, Idris said the amount seeks to alleviate the plight of some 30 fishermen and their families–especially during the closed fishing season. (Lilian C Mellejor/PNA)