AROUND 355,000 fisherfolks are expected to benefit from a newly approved P11.2-billion Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project, which aims to rehabilitate and boost the competitiveness of the local fishing sector.
During its first meeting on Thursday in Malacañang, the National Economic and Development Authoriry (Neda) Board gave the go-ahead for the implementation of the project, which will be funded through multiple sources.
The bulk or P9.6 billion of the budget will come from official development assistance (ODA) provided by the World Bank (WB).
Private sector partners and beneficiary groups or cooperatives will shell out P1.16 billion, while the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) will allocate P660.6 million for it.
”The seven-year investment will support the implementation of reforms in fishery and aquaculture management in the Philippines aimed at improving the management of the country’s fishery resources and enhancing the value of fisheries production in selected fisheries management areas (FMAs),” the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement.
The project will cover 32 million hectares of coastal and marine area in 24 provinces.
While FishCoRe will mostly improve the working conditions of existing fisherfolks, it is also expected to generate 26,877 new jobs from the development and implementation of appropriate fisheries management policies, establishing support facilities for the rehabilitation of coastal and maritime habitats and improving institutional capacities for strengthened enforcement.
Marcos, who also chairs the Neda Board, said the project is timely since it will help achieve his goal of ensuring food security in the country by addressing declining fish catch and high post-harvest losses.
“For some reason our aquaculture is not flourishing or being developed. That’s why this [project] is important for me. I think this is where—if not all, it will be part of our food supply. It will give very good income for our fisherfolk,” Marcos said at the Neda Board meeting.
Aside from FishCoRE, the Neda Board also granted the request of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the utilization of savings for the requested change in scope and loan validity extension of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) Phase I and the 19-month loan validity extension for its New Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System (CNS-ATM) project.
Also approved were the request of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the implementation period’s extension and loan validity extension for the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project; as well as the change in scope of works, increase in cost, and reallocation of contingency cost to civil works category for its Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (IDRR-CCA) Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay.
Last, the board also allowed the Philippine Competition Commission to change the scope for its Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project.