SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- All is set for this year’s “Takbo para sa Pagmamahal sa Karagatan,” an annual fund-raising activity of the Subic Bay Integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (SBIFARMC) to support the protection of marine resources and environmental conservation.
Some 300 participants are expected to join the five-kilometer and 10-kilometer runs that will be held within the Central Business District of the Freeport on Saturday, November 17.
SBIFARMC chairman Resty del Rosario said in a press conference on Wednesday that this annual activity which is now on its sixth year will help establish marine sanctuaries in Olongapo City and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan.
“This year’s fun run will also be a venue to plead for support from the national government with regards to fishermen’s dwindling livelihood, and to ask for the creation of a department that will oversee the welfare of fisherfolk,” he said.
Del Rosario said the local fishermen are also asking to be allowed to freely go fishing in the waters of the West Philippine Sea.
He said fishermen from Olongapo, Subic and San Antonio in Zambales and Morong in Bataan are currently being allowed in the area but with some restrictions.
“We need help to improve the lot of local fishermen, that’s why we’re calling for government assistance in fishing in the West Philippine Sea. We need help because local fisherfolk have been displaced and are now the poorest among the 14 basic sectors,” del Rosario added.
The Takbo para sa Pagmamahal sa Karagatan is supported by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and fisherfolk organizations in the greater Subic Bay area.
Del Rosario also said that there has been a significant decrease in the number of fishing grounds in the surrounding coastal communities in San Antonio and Subic, Olongapo City and Morong due to development projects in the Subic Bay area through the years.
He, however, said the fisherfolk organization has remained cooperative and supportive of the SBMA, which manages the free port.
Since it was formed, he said the SBIFARMC has become a reliable partner of the SBMA in the protection, conservation, management and rehabilitation of Subic Bay.
“We work in collaboration with the SBMA Harbor Patrol in monitoring and reporting illegal fishing activities, oil and gas spills, water pollution and other unlawful activities within the bay area,” del Rosario said.
“We also undertake regular monthly coastal cleanups, information and education campaigns, and other initiatives for the protection and preservation of the environment,” he added.
Del Rosario also said their group will continue to support industrial peace in the Subic Bay Freeport, protection from coastal outlaws, and smooth operations for locators. (PNA)