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FishR Project Helps Government Improve Fishermens' Livelihood

19 July 2013

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is set to launch in Eastern Visayas the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration or FishR which is envisioned as the entry point of blessings from government to fisherfolk.

BFAR Region 8 Director Juan D. Albaladejo said that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and BFAR Director Asis G. Perez are expected to attend the launching on 25 July, at 9:30 a.m. at the Tacloban Astrodome.

The FishR System is a registry of municipal fisherfolk that incorporates the data from the National Statistics Office’s Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture and from the existing Fisherfolk Registration System of BFAR.

The FishR is envisioned to guide the national government on what kind of assistance should be given to improve the livelihood and quality of life of fisherfolk as well as the appropriate assistance for the city or municipality, Director Albaladejo told the local media practitioners at the Harampang Ha PIA on 16 July.

Director Albaladejo added that FishR is designed to assist local government units to comply with the provision of RA 8550 or the Fisheries Code of 1998 which provides for the registration of municipal fisherfolk. The Bureau has devised mechanisms to ensure the full implementation of this program, which admittedly is long-overdue, in close partnership with all coastal cities and municipalities.

"The municipal fisheries sector provides 27 per cent of the country’s close to five million metric tons total volume of fish produce. This is higher than the contribution of the commercial fishing sector at 21 per cent. It is however lamentable that this sector composed of more than one million fishermen remains to be the poorest of the poor," the BFAR Director said.

Through FishR, BFAR would be able to know how to serve the fishermen better with the intent of recognizing them as the Bureau’s real beneficiaries. The bureau also seeks to deliver its service right at every fisherman’s doorstep, efficiently and effectively.

Knowing the everyday risks encountered by the fishermen, BFAR, through the said program, is bent on providing fisherfolk with medical and health insurance proposed to be allotted with P200 million funding

"We are eyeing for a hundred per cent registered fisherfolk nationwide. And by being a responsible partner to our fishermen, we plan to be successful on this endeavor," Director Albaladejo further said.

"All municipalities which completed the registration will qualify for at least 2 million worth of fishery projects by 2014," Director Albaladejo said.

The bureau has earmarked some P30 million to ensure the complete fisherfolk registration all over the country. This budget will be distributed among 899 coastal cities and municipalities in the form of incentives.

Through this, fisheries technician officers from the local government units in all coastal cities and municipalities, who will facilitate in the fisherfolk registration, will receive an incentive of P15.00 per fisherfolk registered.

The BFAR director further stressed that FishR is a tool and not just a promise that will serve as an entry point of blessings from our government to the fisherfolk.

The launching of the program marks the beginning of the registration which will be conducted in all coastal and municipal local government units nationwide.

FishR is open to all workers in the fisheries sector to include municipal fishermen, fish vendors, fish farmers, and all other workers in allied industries, Director Albaladejo said.

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