BFAR launches fisherfolk registration drive in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 August)- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 12 has launched a massive registration of fisherfolk in the region to facilitate the proper extension of various government services to the sector.

Ambutong Pautong, BFAR-12 director, said the initiative is part of the nationwide fisherfolk registration program or FishR that was launched by the agency earlier this month.

In Region 12, he said the registration program formally took off last week in this city and will later cover other coastal localities in the area.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“We’re targeting to register 60,000 fisherfolk in the entire region,” Pautong said.

The official said the simplified registration process will help the government update its registry and eventually strengthen its assistance programs for the sector.

He said the collected registration data, especially those involving the “subsistence fisherfolk,” will later comprise the comprehensive fishery information system that will be used in the crafting of assistance programs for the sector.

“It will also assist us in managing, regulating, conserving and protecting our fishery resources,” Pautong said.

During the initial registration activity, BFAR personnel enlisted local fishermen, vendors, transporters and other players in the fishing sector.

The registrants were asked to provide their basic personal data, membership in fishing organizations, livelihood group affiliations and their related activities.

Pautong said the registered fisherfolk will be issued later on with official identification cards through their respective local government units.

BFAR earlier allocated around P30 million for the fisherfolk registration program, which covers 899 coastal cities and municipalities in the country. (Allen Estabillo/MindaNews)