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DA donates 100 boats

MASINLOC, ZAMBALES – Fisherfolks from this province received 100 fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats, including the motors, triggers, and bottom set gillnets from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Wednesday at this town.

Led by DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona, the beneficiaries from Subic, San Antonio, San Narciso, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Palauig, Masinloc and Sta. Cruz were given 30-footer fiberglass fishing boats as part of the two agencies’ livelihood program for Zambales.

The 100 fishing boats were given to help fishermen who used to go to Scarborough Shoal have an alternative way to find fish in other areas of the West Philippine Sea. Despite the UN Arbitral Ruling that favors the Philippines in a 3-year-old case against China’s claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, Zambales fishermen are still not able to fish within the territorial waters of the Philippines.

According to 2nd District Rep. Cheryll Montalla, these fiberglass boats are a great gift to the Zambales fisherfolks.

The congresswoman stated that she hopes the beneficiaries would take good care of these boats.

“Tunay na dumating ang napakagandang regalo para sa atin sa mahabang panahon na hindi napapansin ang mga mangingisda sa Zambales at ngayon isa sa mga priority ni Presidente Duterte ang pagtutok sa magsasaka at mangingisda” said Montalla.

Piñol said that aside from the fiberglass boats, the two agencies aim to create 1,000 more boats for the whole region. He added that they will also teach the fishermen how to make these fiberglass boats.

He said that with the project underway, the fishermen here would help fill the 36 per cent demand of fish supplies in Metro Manila after President Duterte closed the Laguna De Bay. He pointed out that he had already asked the president to construct a cold storage and ice-making plant in Masinloc.

Piñol has already tasked Gongona to head the West Philippine Sea Anti-Illegal Task Force in Zambales. The DA chief will also support the rice farming program in Zambales and has asked Deloso to send a proposal to answer the needs of the farmers here. (Jonas Reyes)

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