MANILA – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Monday said it will procure new floating assets this year to boost aid delivery for Filipino fishers in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
BFAR spokesperson Nazario Briguera said during a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview that around PHP2.5 billion has been allotted for the procurement of monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) patrol vessels and food boats.
“(Para) makita nila iyong presensiya ng pamahalaan doon po sa West Philippine Sea, so kailangan po natin magdagdag ng mga floating assets (So they can see the presence of the government in the West Philippine Sea, we need to augment our floating assets),” he said.
Briguera also highlighted the launching of LAYAG WPS (Livelihood Activities to Enhance Fisheries Yield and Economic Gains from the WPS), which extends support even to the fishers in regions facing the WPS.
These include 385,300 Filipino fishers in the WPS, particularly those from Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Ilocos Region, Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
Briguera said at least PHP80 million was allocated last year for that livelihood intervention project, which benefitted 90 percent of the fisherfolk.
“This year madaragdagan pa ito at tuloy-tuloy po. Bahagi diyan iyong fuel subsidy, iyong pamimigay ng fuel sa ating mga mangingisda (This year, the budget shall increase, and it will continue. Part of that is the fuel subsidy which we are distributing to our fishers),” he said.
Briguera likewise lauded the BFAR-led aid operation in the WPS on Feb. 5. No Chinese vessels were sighted.
The resupply mission to Rozul Reef involved 13 tons of diesel, ready-to-eat snacks and medicines. (PNA)