Gov’t urged to aid fishers during recurring seasonal loss

By MAVIC CONDE
Bulatlat.com

ALBAY — On Monday, June 3, fisher Alan Clapis was unable to fish due to a typhoon-like storm, a sea condition that occurs for months during Habagat, where monstrous waves make fishing life-threatening with small outrigger boats.

“In weeks when we cannot fish, we turn to upland farming and gleaning for shellfish,” 49-year-old Clapis told Bulatlat.

While he saved money after every good catch, his budget for his family is still tight because abaca plants no longer produce high-quality yields since his town, Tiwi, has operated a geothermal plant.

In prolonged hardships like this, he believes government aid would be beneficial, just as it is for his fellow Zambales fishers now that they prepare for Amihan, which, according to local fishers, begins in the last week of May and lasts until August, and its impact, called sigwada.

Sigwada, according to a statement released by national fishers’ group Pamalakaya, forces municipal fishers “to suspend their fishing operations due to big waves and strong winds.”

Pamalakaya urges the Department of Agriculture to use the one billion pesos Quick Response Fund (QRF) annual budget to prevent this extreme loss from happening to fishers every time.

“It is criminal neglect if the government will not lift a finger to assist (fisherfolk) in times of calamities,” Joey Marabe, Pamalakaya – Zambales Provincial Coordinator said in a statement.

In the meantime, Ronnel Arambulo, national vice chairperson of Pamalakaya, stated that their group has coordinated with coastal communities nationwide to monitor any possible effects and eventually organize to demand adequate financial assistance and other types of government support.

“This is not just Zambales. Sigwada may be expected in other parts of the country. As such, the Marcos Jr. administration should implement timely and concrete measures to address this,” Arambulo said. (JJE, RVO)

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on June 6, 2024, 1:27 p.m. (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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