BFAR denied boats to Yolanda victims – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) slammed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for failing to distribute fishing boats to the fisherfolk whose livelihoods were devastated by the super typhoon Yolanda on November 2013.
Pamalakaya criticized BFAR’s rehabilitation project called AHON (rise), an initiative to distribute at least 10,000 fishing boats to 20,000 municipal fisherfolk in the Visayas and Bicol regions.
The fisherfolk group cited that in Bicol region, P996, 731.65 out of P3.9 million or 25.5% of the total Yolanda rehabilitation fund for the region have not used for rehabilitation. The unused fund is supposed to be for the municipalities of Balaud, Cawayan, Espenza, Pio V. Corpuz and Placer in the province of Masbate. The BFAR-V has even blamed its Central Office for failing to distribute the necessary fishing gears to the Yolanda-affected fisherfolk in the region.
“The BFAR shows not only their lack of will in providing adequate aid to the super-typhoon victims, but also their slow and incompetence to fully implement their only rehabilitation project which is very crucial to the fisherfolk.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile in Region 6, the AHON program has allotted P137.99 million for the reconstruction and distribution of boats and fishing gears. According to BFAR in Region 6 alone, there are almost 15, 759 Yolanda-affected fisherfolk, 10, 137 totally wrecked fishing boats and 12, 930 destroyed fishing gears.
But out of 10, 137 totally damaged fishing boats; the BFAR has only targeted 730 boats but even this small target has not been even completed nor distributed to the fisherfolk. While there are still remaining 2, 382 fishing motors and 9, 022 fishing gears that are also undistributed.
“Contrary to its name, AHON does not really help the fisherfolk rise after the catastrophic super typhoon, but rather descends them into more poverty and put them into a greater casualty.”
“The fisherfolk have survived the devastating impact of the super typhoon Yolanda but the incompetence and negligence of the BFAR might completely kill them. It’s been almost two years since super typhoon Yolanda has struck the country but until now, the affected fisherfolk have yet to receive any substantial rehabilitation from the government they direly need.”
“We call on the fisherfolk to become extra vigilant on the rehabilitation projects coming from the local and national government to make sure that the billions of pesos supposedly for their welfare are not being used as a milking cow by these government officials.” France ended. ###