ONE OF THE FOUR. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has opened a fish processing plant in Orion, Bataan. This is one of the four newly-completed facilities, which opened the first week of April in Central Luzon to provide sustainable livelihood to the fisherfolks in the region. (Photo courtesy of BFAR Region II)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has opened four fish processing plants in Central Luzon this week to help ensure sustainable livelihood for the marginalized fisherfolks in the region.

The new facilities are located in Orion, Bataan; Obando, and Paombong, both in Bulacan; and in Santo Tomas, this province.

The setting up of fish processing plants was implemented under the technology-based incubation program of the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

Lilia Garcia, executive director of the DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), said on Thursday the establishment of the fish processing facilities aims to provide the members of the fisherfolks cooperatives and association with new knowledge, skills, and technologies needed to boost the local fish industry.

Ulysses Montojo, chief of the NFRDI’s Fisheries Post-Harvest Research and Development Division, said the newly completed facilities were realized through the support of the BAR and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Central Luzon (BFAR3).

"Hindi lamang training at pasilidad ang ating ipinagkakaloob (We are providing not only training and facilities). We are creating a culture of business by instilling sa isipan ng ating mga benepisyaryo ang konsepto ng (in the minds of our beneficiaries the concept of) food safety and income generation,” Montojo said in video interview.

Orion Mayor Antonio L. Raymundo Jr. said the facility will be a big help that could spur the fishing industry in their area.

“Magbubukas ito ng maraming oportunidad para sa paglikha ng mga produkto mula sa mga isda na makakatulong para sa dagdag kita ng ating mga mangingisda (This will open more opportunities for making products from fish that could provide additional income to our fishermen),” Raymundo said.

The Orion fish processing plant will be supervised by the Samahan at Ugnayan ng Pangisdaan sa Orion (SUGPO) fisherfolk federation while the Sto. Tomas fish processing facility was awarded to the Kapampangan women fisherfolk group Damayan.

The Obando fish processing plant was turned over to the Obando Fishermen Association while the Paombong fish processing plant will be operated by the Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Paombong (NASAMAPA). (PNA)