Poverty reduction program for fisherfolk launched in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 January) — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has allocated around P55 million for the implementation this year of a new socio-economic initiative for poor fisherfolk in parts of the region.

Sammy Malvas, BFAR Region 12 director, said Monday they have identified a total of 3,723 inland and coastal fishermen as beneficiaries of the newly-launched Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation in the Fishery Sector or TARGET program in the region.

He said the recipients were chosen from among the registrants of the agency’s National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (FishR) and the database of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 12.

“We will be providing livelihood assistance to these beneficiaries, who are considered as among the poorest of the poor fisherfolk in the region,” he said during the program’s regional launching here.

Malvas said they were mandated to assist a minimum of five percent of the 68,812 fishermen in Region 12 who were registered last year with the FishR.

He said they specifically identified a total of 818 beneficiaries in Sultan Kudarat, 705 in Sarangani, 1,158 in South Cotabato and this city, 702 in North Cotabato and 260 in Cotabato City.

Under the program, Malvas said the agency will provide various fishery-related livelihood assistance to the beneficiaries as direct intervention to help improve their livelihood status.

He said the assistance, which is worth P15,000 each, will be given directly to the beneficiaries in the form of aquaculture implements and projects.

The livelihood projects would focus on resource enhancement, resource management and protection, as well as postharvest and marketing support, he said.

For recipients situated in the coastal areas, he said the program may provide assistance in the form of motorized bancas, fish aggregating devices or payaos and artificial coral reefs.

Malvas said those in inland areas could avail of fish culture inputs, postharvest implements and fishing devices.

The official said they have hired a total of 62 Field Livelihood Development Technicians (FLDTs) to handle the program’s implementation in selected communities within the region’s four provinces and five cities.

The FLDTs will specifically handle the validation or verification of the beneficiaries’ livelihood and assist them in the identification of appropriate livelihood projects, he said.

He said they will later coordinate with concerned local government units and the agency’s non-government partners for the implementation of the program, which is initially set until the end of the year.

“They will assist later on in the monitoring and evaluation of the program’s implementation and help ensure that it will be sustained on a long-term basis,” he said.

Malvas said they will deploy the FLDTs starting this week to immediately start the validation of the beneficiaries. (MindaNews)