Communities affected by oil spill to get aid from BFAR

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a coast guard personnel collects water samples from an oil spill in the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, central Philippines, Thursday March 2, 2023. Oil leaking from Philippine tanker MT Princess Empress that sank off a province southwest of the capital has prompted at least seven coastal towns to temporarily ban fishing and swimming, officials said Thursday. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) said it will provide livelihood assistance to the fishers affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.

On March 7, DA-BFAR National Director Demosthenes Escoto committed the initial allotment of P4 million which will be used to implement immediate and alternative livelihood assistance for fisherfolk engaged in capture fishing while the provincial government enforces fishing ban in the affected areas.

Using the said initial amount, the government will provide 10 units of smokehouses for fish processing.

The raw materials for fish processing will be sourced from Occidental Mindoro and other nearby areas not affected by the oil spill.

In addition, the agency said it will operationalize Kadiwa Oplan ISDA, an existing project which supports fishers by providing market linkages. Fisheries cooperatives from Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro will be linked for fish trade, while the DA-BFAR provides logistical support such as utilization of reefer vans.

“The DA-BFAR is determined to help our affected fisherfolk cope with the loss of income due to the fishing ban resulting from the oil spill,” Escoto said.

“We are implementing these immediate livelihood interventions which will be coursed through the provincial agriculture office of Oriental Mindoro for a centralized and strategic distribution to our fisherfolk beneficiaries.”

Besides livelihood interventions, the DA-BFAR will extend technical assistance to the provincial government by conducting laboratory testing of water and fish samples gathered from the affected areas.

The result of the tests will be used in determining and recommending areas that are safe for fishing activities.

To date, about 11,000 fisherfolk families in the municipalities of Naujan and Pola including its neighbouring areas are affected by the oil spill, according to reports.

Image credits: Philippine Coast Guard via AP


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