Fisherfolk group to BFAR: Release El Nino funds to drought-affected fishers
Manila, Philippines — The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Friday urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to immediately release its P673M calamity fund to support the drought-stricken fisherfolk in the country.
Drought or the El Nino phenomenon is a prolonged dry-spell that is currently devastating the rural countryside especially the farmers and fisherfolk.
Pamalakaya lashed the BFAR for failing to immediately provide adequate relief and assistance to the fisherfolk who are now suffering from diminishing fish catch due to the dry-spell.
“Nagdudulot ang tagtuyot o ang El Nino ng pagtumal ng huli dito sa Lawa ng Laguna. Bago ang El Nino, nakakahuli kami ng di bababa sa 10-15 kilo ng isda kada araw. Pero mula ng humagupit ang El Nino nitong nakaraang taon, maswerte na kung makahuli kami ng tatlong kilo kada araw. Mas madalas, umuuwi kaming walang laman ang aming lambat,” ayon kay Romy Antazo, Secretary General ng Pamalakaya sa isang pahayag.
(“This dry-spell is causing the fish catch in Laguna de Bay to shrink. Before the El Nino, we can catch at least 10-15 kilos a day. But since El Nino have started last year, we are lucky if we can catch 3 kilos per day. Oftentimes, we go home with empty nets,” Romy Antazo, Secretary General of Pamalakaya in a statement.)
According to Antazo, fishing activity during El Nino is more difficult than usual because fish and other marine species migrate and move into deep water to find better temperature. Worse, the El Nino results to several ecological disturbances resulting to massive fish kills and red tide.
“Ginugutom ng El Nino ang mga mangingisda at magsasaka bilang sila ang mga pangunahing apektado ng tagtuyot. Hindi na dapat magpaliguy-ligoy pa ang BFAR sa pagharap dito dahil ang pondo ay nasa kanila nang mga kamay. Huwag na nilang hintayin pa na sumugod at magprotesta ang libu-libong mangingisda sa harapan ng kanilang opisina para lang igiit at ipanawagan ang agarang paglalabas ng pondo na nararapat at nakalaan para sa kanila.” dagdag pa ni Antazo.
(“El Nino starves the rural people especially the fishers and farmers as they are the front line casualties of this prolonged dry spell. Without delay, the BFAR should address this natural phenomenon since the calamity fund is already in their hands.They shouldn’t wait for the thousands of fishers to troop and protests in front of their office to demand the immediate release of the fund that is clearly intended for them.” Antazo added.)
According to BFAR, at least 100,000 fishermen are already suffering from the effects of El Nino. ###