Three weeks after Super Typhoon Yolanda impaired fishing operations in the coastal communities in Visayas, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) launched a rehabilitation initiative to ensure immediate livelihood assistance to affected fisher folk.
Dubbed as the “Ahon! Sampung Libong Bangka para sa Dalawampung Libong Pamilya,” the government initiative aims to rally 10,000 fishing boats or bancas in three months to help rebuild the livelihood of some 20,000 fisher folk-families affected by the typhoon.
“Thousands of boats and fishing equipment have been lost to Yolanda when the calamity struck weeks ago. Our main concern right now is to help our fisher folk get back to their livelihood,” BFAR Director Asis Perez said.
To jumpstart this initiative, the bureau earmarked some P50 million, of which the bulk will be used to build the initial 3,000 bancas. The remaining amount will go to the construction of 350 units of shallow-water payao, which the bureau will install to provide fisher folk with targeted fishing areas.
Owing to scale of the devastation and with pressing urgency, Perez said that BFAR needs the support of partner government agencies, non-government organizations, the private sector and individual volunteers to work together in addressing this immediate need of the fisher folk.
“We are very happy with the influx of support the public is coursing through us.
“Even before the launching, we have already been receiving pledges of commitment for this initiative. And they are most welcomed to join us,” Perez said.
A six-meter long fishing boat without a motor engine is estimated at P6,000 and if equipped with a motor engine would cost P15,000.
Perez, however, clarifies that BFAR will not accept cash contributions.
Monetary assistance will have to go through participating non-profit organizations based in strategic locations. BFAR will place material collection hubs in Cebu and Butuan City where supplies could be bought or delivered and can easily be loaded on the bureau’s multi-mission vessel, MV DA-BFAR, which will then sail for Tacloban City and Guiuan in Eastern Samar or in Carmen, Cebu where the boat-building areas are.
Materials necessary in boat construction including marine plywood, marine epoxy, nails, five horsepower motor engines and stainless steel bars among others will be accepted and may be brought to drop-off centers which BFAR will announce in the succeeding days.
To make way for transparency in the flow of contributions, BFAR will set up a special Ahon! Initiative web page where the public can monitor how much monetary/supply assistance is collected, where it goes and who receives the bancas.
As for the selection of fisher folk-beneficiaries, the bureau will make use of the data collected through the Fisher Folk Registration System (FRS), the national database for municipal fisher folk registration, which was launched July this year.