THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA extends assistance to rescued Mindoro fishermen

Author: DA-AFID | 19 June 2019

Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol personally delivered packages of assistance to the 22 fishers of the F/B Gem-Ver 1, which sank off the waters of Recto Bank after a ramming incident involving a Chinese vessel.

According to the agriculture chief, the Department through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) released PHP 25,000 pesos for each of the 22 fishers under the Survival Response (SURE) Loan Program to help them recover from their losses after the unfortunate incident.

On June 10, Gem-Ver suffered major damage causing it to submerge in the waters leaving all 22 fisherfolks floating in the middle of the sea for about six hours before being rescued.

Piñol said the loan assistance is payable in three years with no collateral and no interest.

The fishermen were also granted 30-footer fiberglass boat, with complete accessories, including engine and nets.

Piñol said that each boat will be shared by two fishermen so they could have a source of income while the F/B Gem-Ver 1 is being repaired.

In addition, each of the 22 fishermen received one sack of rice from the Department.

The agriculture chief said he has also tapped the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for some additional funding. He said, the funding will not be limited for assisting the 22 Mindoro fishermen but will also be used to buy ice-making machines and cold storage for the all the fishing grounds nationwide needing them.

I talked to President Alfredo Lim of PAGCOR sabi ko baka pwedeng makatulong sila. So pinasulat nila ako sa board at humingi ako ng funding hindi lang para sa Mindoro fishermen na apektado pati na rin sa ibang fishing grounds na nangangailangan ng pagawaan ng ice tsaka cold storage,” Secretary Piñol said.

Reportedly, the Recto Bank incident caused the fishermen and the boat owners over PHP 2 million worth of damages.  It included, about 3 tons of fish with estimated worth of PHP 1 million; PHP 500,000 in capital; and PHP 700,000 for the fishing boat.

With the said amount of damage, Secretary Piñol pointed out that it is already time for the government to initiate the modernization of the Philippine fishing boats.

This incident should be an awakening incident for us na dapat na nating baguhin at i-modernize ang ating fisheries sector by offering them new, leveled up and modernized fishing boats made of steel,” said Secretary Piñol.

Majority of the boats being used in the country for fishing were made up from woods, which according to the DA Secretary is very fragile and will not leave a single chance to overcome unexpected incidents in the seas.

To initiate the fishing boat modernization program, Secretary Piñol said they are already drafting a proposal to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Secretary Piñol believes that modernizing the fisheries sector will make fishing for the Filipino fisherfolks more convenient and efficient. ### (Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula, DA Press Office)

# Photo shows Sec. Piñol with the Mindoro fishermen who were granted assistance by the Department of Agriculture after a forum held at the Municipal Gymnasium of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro.

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