Gov't full of surprises

By Manny Piñol

A total of 400 poor fishing families of Sorsogon Province yesterday received 200 units of newly-fabricated fiberglass fishing boats in simple ceremonies in the town of Casiguran attended by Senator Francis Escudero, Congressman Ding Ramos and several mayors of the province.

The Casiguran, Sorsogon fiberglass fishing boats distribution is part of the national program of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to address poverty in the fisheries sector.

Under the FB Pagbabago Program, each boat will be owned by two families of fishermen to ensure that there will be a safety net to prevent practices in the past where government equipment given out was sold or simply neglected.

"This is a big surprise. I have never seen so many boats being given out by government to fishermen," said Cong. Ramos, a veteran lawmaker who represents one of the two congressional districts of Sorsogon.

The fiberglass fishing boats which were requested by Sen. Escudero were fabricated by the fishermen themselves in Casiguran for which they were paid for the labor.

Supervised by boat maker Pierre Velasco of BFAR, the mould for the boats, including the fiberglass materials were brought to Casiguran, Sorsogon where the fishermen were engaged to make their own boats.

Sen. Escudero said the program in Sorsogon would involve the distribution of up to 2,000 fiberglass fishing boats to benefit 4,000 families.

Yesterday, I committed to the people and leaders of Sorsogon that to complete the program of really helping fisher folks, a cold storage and an ice plant will also be implemented by the BFAR by 2018.

Fishermen who received the fiberglass fishing boats yesterday said it was the first time they ever received anything from government which really addressed what they need.

Each 30-foot fiberglass boat comes complete with net, line and hook and an 18-horsepower engine.

The only thing that the fishermen will put up as their counterpart would be the bamboo poles which would be used as outriggers or "katig."

The fishermen were also asked to ensure that there is no illegal fishing in their fishing grounds.

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