• Drought–hit fishermen seek government help

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    THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to immediately release its P673 million calamity fund to support fishermen who are reeling from drought triggered by El Niño.

    The fisherfolk group lashed out at the BFAR for its failure to immediately provide adequate relief and assistance to the fishermen who are suffering from diminishing catch because of the dry spell.

    “This dry spell is causing the fish catch in Laguna de Bay to shrink. Before the El Nino, we can catch at least 10 to 15 kilos a day. But since El Niño started last year, we are lucky if we can catch three kilos per day. Oftentimes, we go home with empty nets,” Romy Antazo, the group’s secretary general, said in a statement.

    According to Antazo, fishing has become more difficult because fish and other marine species migrate and move into deeper water to find better temperature. The dry spell also led to ecological disturbances resulting in massive fish kills and red tide.

    “El Niño starves the rural people especially the fishers and farmers as they are the front line casualties of this prolonged dry spell. Without delay, the BFAR should address this natural phenomenon since the calamity fund is already in their hands.They shouldn’t wait for the thousands of fishers to troop and protests in front of their office to demand the immediate release of the fund that is clearly intended for them,” Atanzo said.

    According to BFAR, at least 100,000 fishermen are suffering from the effects of El Niño.

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