The Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), on Monday launched a new program in Cavite province to ease the incidence of poverty in the country’s fishing communities.
The program dubbed as “Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation (Target)” in the fishery sector follows President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s social agenda of poverty alleviation and inclusive growth for sectors with high poverty incidence—the fishery sector included.
“We called our program Target because the objective of the government under the Aquino administration is to be more precise in our actions to deliver interventions to the identified fisherfolk population to improve their livelihood,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.
Target will make use of the fisherfolk database generated through the national program for municipal Fisherfolk Registration System (FishR), which already registered more than 1.3 million fisherfolk nationwide.
Alcala said data from the registry will be the basis of Target’s direct interventions.
Under the program, 33,206 fisherfolk in 100 coastal communities whose names appear both on FishR and the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be provided with livelihood interventions such as fishing boats, motor engines, aquaculture inputs and farm implements.
“If we improve the lives of these 33,206 fisherfolk from their estimated population of 1.8 million, we would be able to reduce poverty incidence in the Philippine fishery sector by 4 percent from 2012’s 39.2 percent,” BFAR National Director Asis Perez said.
An issue that BFAR hopes to address through Target’s resource management and protection component, Perez added, is the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, one of the root causes of poverty in the sector.
He said this will be done through enhanced fishery law enforcement and strengthened regulatory activities, especially in identified areas. The program’s other components are livelihood support, resource enhancement and post-harvest and marketing support.
Aside from Target, BFAR has also launched the national program for municipal fishing vessels and gears registration (BoatR) to fast-track and complete the nationwide registration of fishing vessels—weighing three gross tons and below—as mandated by Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code, RA 7160 or the Local Government Code and Executive Order 305.
BFAR will be working closely with local government units, partner agencies, non-government organizations and institutions in the implementation of both Target and BoatR programs.