PHILIPPINES - P1.71 billion has been released to the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) for the rehabilitation of fishing communities struck by Supertyphoon Yolanda.
The P1.7-billion release, which will cover the rehabilitation costs for fishing communities in Regions 4B, 5, 6, 7 and 8, was charged against the Unprogrammed Fund under the 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the BusinessMirror reports.
“The release to DA-BFAR will allow us to help fishing communities regain their toehold in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda. We musn’t forget that many of these communities were dealt the heaviest blows during the calamity, as Yolanda-ravaged coastlines where most fishermen live and carry out a substantial amount of their work,” Secretary Florencio B. Abad was quoted in the statement as saying.
The budget managers’ statement said P905.7 million of the total amount released is expected to be used for two allotments.
The DBM said P468 million is expected to be spent to build or rehabilitate BFAR facilities in the Western (Region 6), Central (Region 7) and Eastern (Region 8) Visayas regions. On the other hand, P32 million is expected to be spent to repair the bureau’s monitor, control and surveillance patrol vessels. These sustained severe damage in the height of Yolanda in November last year.
The DBM added that the reconstruction of BFAR facilities in various Yolanda-stricken regions include the following: rehabilitation activities for the Guian Fisheries Development Center and Pearl Island Facilities in Eastern Visayas; the Central Bangus Hatchery; Central Visayas Multi-species Nursery Training and Demonstration Center and Kawit Satellite Multispecies Hatchery in Central Visayas; and, the Pinamuk-an Hatchery in Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, another P405.7 million of the P1.7-billion release will be channeled to various aid activities for the region’s aquaculture initiatives, including seaweed nurseries, mariculture farms and fingerling distribution.
Finally, the total release will also support the following: provision of motorized bancas (P391.6 million); nonmotorized bancas (P122.1 million); and, fishing gear (P286.2 million) for Yolanda-affected fishing communities.
The DBM’s announcement came a day after the DA announced a P1.2-billion allocation for rehabilitation of farms in Eastern Visayas.
The Philippine News Agency reported late Monday that “bulk of the budget or P800 million will be used to repair damaged facilities, such as the regional office building, satellite offices, laboratories and vehicles.”
“The remaining P400 million will be for procurement of seeds, fertilizers and farm machinery that would restore production,” the state news agency report said.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala was quoted in the report as saying that the P1.2-billion budget “represents preliminary release for Region 8” but that “there will be additional allotments later this year and in succeeding years.”
The DA chief said the budget for the region is on top of the P2.8-billion rehabilitation fund for coconut industry recovery and P1.7-billion funds to restore fish production.
More than half of the rehabilitation funds of the Bureau of Fisheries and Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will be poured out in Eastern Visayas.
“Although the P2.8 billion will also cover Regions 6 and 7, about 70 percent will be used in Region 8 considering the extent of damage here,” PCA Administrator Euclides G. Forbes was quoted in the PNA report as saying.
For fishery rehabilitation, about 60 percent of the P1.7-billion outlay will be spent in Region 8, the report quoted BFAR Director Asis G. Perez as saying.
The DA regional office in Tacloban City reported an P18.8-billion damage to the farming sector when Yolanda wreaked havoc in the region nearly four months ago.
TheFishSite News Desk