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Tribesmen get boats, seeds from DA

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Tribesmen in an island town of Palawan have received modern fishing boats and seaweed seeds worth R6.7 million, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced here yesterday.

Piñol said workers from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) turned over 60 fiberglass fishing boats powered by 19-horsepower diesel engines, 61 payaos (anchored fish aggregating devices), fishing nets and seaweed planting materials to fisher folks in Busuanga town in symbolic ceremony last Tuesday.

Five of the fiberglass boats went to the Tagbanua tribal people in Calawit, an island village in Busuanga, and another units unit was given to the Calawit High School administration for use by students in fishery research, he said.

“I thought you were just joking,” Piñol quoted Tagbanua tribal chief Apo Fidel Mondragon as telling him in Pilipino as the latter met and embraced him in his return to the island last Tuesday.

“The tribal chieftain was teary-eyed when he met me and my team at the elementary school grounds of his village where a small helicopter dropped me off for the visit to the island,” Piñol said in his Facebook post yesterday.

He recalled meeting Mondragon and his Tagbanua tribesmen three months ago at a consultation with people and leaders of Palawan’s Buasuanga and Coron town over the encroachment of squatters from Mindoro Island into the cattle ranch of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in the province. BAI and BFAR are both under DA. (Ali Macabalang)

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