FISHERY PROJECT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. backs the approval of the PHP11.2-billion Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project, which is meant to "benefit the poorest of the poor." In a meeting with officials of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday (Nov. 24, 2022), Marcos said the FishCoRe project would help boost local fishermen's income. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has expressed full support for the PHP11.2 billion Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project envisioned to "benefit the poorest of the poor," Malacañang said on Saturday.

Marcos, who concurrently serves as secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), is confident the FishCoRe project would help the government address the problems hounding the fishery sector, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer in charge of the Office of the Press Secretary, said in a statement.

The statement came after the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved on Thursday the FishCoRe project, which will benefit about 354,905 registered fisherfolk in 24 provinces with coastal and marine areas of about 32 million hectares.

The fishery project was designed to create about 26,877 jobs and help the Marcos administration realize its goal of ensuring food security and resiliency through "improved aquaculture production, increased fish stocks, provision of diversified livelihood opportunities and higher incomes for fisherfolk," Garafil said.

"President Marcos fully backs the FishCoRe project and he made this known during his first meeting with NEDA officials in Malacañan last Thursday.”

She said the FishCoRe project was conceptualized to address the problems in the fishery sector, such as declining fish catch, high post-harvest losses, and high poverty incidence among fisherfolk.

During the meeting with NEDA officials, Marcos lauded the timely approval of the fishery project, noting that it is projected that there will be more saltwater fish cultivation as a result of overfishing a few decades from now.

He also emphasized the importance of the project to boost the income of Filipino fishermen.

“This is important for me. I think this is where – if not all, it will be part of our food supply. It will give very good income for our fisherfolk,” Marcos pointed out.

Under the FishCoRe project, the government will establish fisheries infrastructure and facilities and provide livelihood and enterprise development assistance to Filipino fisherfolk.

FishCoRe’s project components include supporting the development and implementation of appropriate fisheries management policies, establishing support facilities for the rehabilitation of coastal and maritime habitats, and improving institutional capacities for strengthened enforcement.

About PHP9.6 billion of the total PHP11.2 billion project cost will come from the official development assistance provided by the World Bank.

The DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will shoulder about PHP660.6 million, while the private sector partners and beneficiary groups or cooperatives will provide the remaining PHP1.16 billion for the implementation of the project.

The seven-year project will support the implementation of reforms in fishery and aquaculture management in the Philippines aimed at improving the management of the country’s fishery resources and enhancing the value of fisheries production in selected fisheries management areas. (PNA)