To protect the coastal areas in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) taps local fisherfolk to serve as guardians of the waters and the seas through the BantayLaot Program.
In Davao Region, 600 fisherfolk, including members of the Badjao indigenous group, were tapped as partners of the DA-BFAR in guarding their waters particularly Davao Gulf.
As guardians, their role is to make sure that there will be no dynamite and cyanide fishing and their waters are garbage-free. They will be issued an official identification card and a radio for easier communication with the coastguard in case they have monitored illegal fishing activities in their areas.
For three months, the fisherfolk will receive an allowance of P3000 each. However, if there are reports of illegal fishing and presence of garbage in the waters, the allowance will be stopped.
In return, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol asked the Badjao fishers to send their children to school and get a proper education.