BUHAY Partylist Representative Lito Atienza challenged newly appointed Agriculture Secretary William Dar to do a better job than his predecessors, especially in protecting the country’s rich aquatic resources as well as protecting the welfare of our fisherfolk.
“Our country has been blessed with abundant aquatic resources, and yet until now, our fisherfolk are still on the lowest rung of our economy. We tried personally helping them by liberating our water bodies that have been overrun by fishpens and fish cages owned by big corporations and some of them are even foreigners. But ironically, it was the DA then that prevented us from succeeding. Now we ask Secretary Dar – do you accept the challenge of doing a far better job in helping our poor fishermen than previous DA managers?” Atienza asked during his interpellation on the budget of the Department of Agriculture, sponsored by Congresswoman Luisa Cuaresma of Nueva Vizcaya.
Secretary Dar, through Cong. Cuaresma expressed agreement with the points raised by Atienza and vowed to act on the critical issues affecting our fishefolk.
“We are not arguing in pesos and cents. We know that the budget being given the department is not enough. We are talking about attitude and personal commitment needed to get the job done,” Atienza said.
Atienza pointed out that Laguna de Bay, the biggest freshwater lake in Asia with an area of 99,000 hectares, used to be the major source of fish supply for Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. But decades of mismanagement and abuse have led to the degradation and pollution of the lake, contributing to the poor quality of fish and steady decline of production.