ILOILO CITY, April 15 (PNA) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) enabled more than 500 fisherfolk of Pilar, Capiz to revive their fishing livelihood through its “Ahon: Sampung Libong Bangka para sa Dalawampung Libong Pamilya” rehabilitation initiative.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, DA 6 Regional Director Larry P. Nacionales and BFAR 6 Regional Director Remia Aparri have recently turned over 500 units of repaired fishing boats, 100 units of marine engines, crab pots and gillnets to the fisherfolk beneficiaries.

Fisherfolk with repaired boats were also given cash incentives of P500- P1,500 as their start up capital.

Typhoon Yolanda caused havoc to 74 percent of the coastal towns and cities in Western Visayas. Thus, BFAR through its Ahon project conducted actual assessments, distribution of repair materials and monitoring.

According to Director Aparri, repairable boats and gears in Capiz underwent immediate restoration while those completely damaged were replaced.

“Fisherfolk themselves repaired their own boats. They were provided repair materials such as marine plywood, copper nails, Epoxy, paint and engines,” Aparri added.

With the help of the Capiz local government unit, BFAR validated 588 motorized and 395 non-motorized fishing boats damaged during the typhoon.

The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics report shows that there are 12,930 fishing gears, 10,137 motorized boats and 2,244 non-motorized boats damaged in the region. BFAR had already provided assistance to 2,980 fisherfolk with 734 boats repaired and 2,246 boats under repair.

Sec. Alcala told Pilar fisherfolk, “bilin po sa akin ni Pangulong Aquino na puntahan ang mga magsasaka at mangingisdang naapektuhan ng bagyo. Sasamahan po namin kayo sa pagbangon.”

He committed a P2-million initial fund for the rehabilitation of the fishing port and for the procurement of ice plant and liquid quick freezer.

For the value added income of the fisherfolk and women’s empowerment, Sec. Alcala promised to conduct training on the processing of fish, seaweeds, deboning and craftsmanship demo on making shell crafts.

Aparri emphasized to the fisherfolk the ways on how to sustain the sea resources by taking care and preventing the destruction of mangroves, coral reefs and sea grasses. (PNA)