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NFD Urges Strengthening of Fisherfolk
[SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 20, 2019]

During the field visit of 2019 National Fisherfolk Director (NFD) Dante C. Noces in Caraga, he repeatedly urged the local fisherfolks to strengthen their organization.

The appeal of NFD Noces, who is from Region 1, was in response to the illegal fishing concerns in the Province of Dinagat Islands as expressed by the fisherfolk and lobster growers at the meeting in the Municipality of Cagdianao.

According to Noces, fisherfolk shall help the government stop the illegal activities by taking care and guarding their respective cages. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMCs), on the other hand, shall be empowered to lobby the Local Government Unit (LGU) to create a task force and municipal/city ordinances to address these concerns.

Representatives from the National Anti-Poverty Council (NAPC) who were with NFD Noces suggested that if all else fails, there’s the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2018-59, which sanctions the LGU for their inaction towards the monitoring and regulation of fishery activities in municipal waters as part of their territorial jurisdictions.

 As for alternate livelihood programs to sustain the families of the lobster growers during off season, former Regional Fisherfolk Director (RFD) Ruben Timogan encouraged the group to engage in marine culture such as bangus, tilapia, fish coral, seaweed farming, etc. The wives can also do the marketing or do some handicraft.

Fisherfolk Directors Noces, Timogan and 2019 RFD Robustiano Patayon Jr also paid a quick visit at a lobster and grouper farm in Barangay Cabunga-an, Municipality of Cagdianao in Dinagat Island. The Fisherfolk Directors Program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is in pursuant to the provisions of Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Order No. 88 series of 2005, which states that one fisherfolk leader is chosen to act as BFAR Director at the national and regional levels respectively in the whole month of May as one of the highlights of the Farmer’s and Fisherfolk Month Celebration.

During the month-long stint, the fisherfolk leaders are expected to provide insights and/or recommendations to advance the services of the bureau to their constituents. At the same time, the regular BFAR Directors are required to undertake a 2-week community immersion program in coastal villages to help them in drawing up more responsive programs and effective implementation strategies for its clients.