CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday announced that 25 fishermen from coastal towns in this province have just graduated from a government-sponsored fiberglass boat building course.
In an interview, Naomi Lyn Abellana, DOLE 4-B (Mimaropa) director, said those who took part in the 15-day course represent the first batch to complete the department’s Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) initiative in Oriental Mindoro.
“The training program was very successful, all the fishermen who participated were able to build their very own fiberglass boats,” Abellana said in Filipino.
It was explained that the boat building course was a joint project of the DOLE and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), with the latter agency providing the instructors and training venue.
Abellana said the fishermen-trainees all had their livelihoods severely disrupted by the recent oil spill off the coast of Naujan town, which quickly spread to adjoining communities, and eventually caused fishing activities to be halted in affected waters.
During their commencement exercises on Tuesday, the trainees were informed that aside from being able to take home the fiberglass boats that they have built, the government will also supply them with small engines to power their new watercraft.
Meanwhile, Abellana said plans are underway to expand TUPAD by introducing training in a range of other disciplines, aside from boat building.
“We want to offer livelihood training to fishermen’s spouses, as well as other workers who also lost their livelihoods because of the oil spill,” she explained. (PNA)