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Photo taking session with the multi-agencies head and representatives together with the Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.(in white polo barong at the center)

 

BFAR pledges to support IP communities

To uplift socio-economic status of the Indigenous People (IP), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), among other agencies, pledged to support IP communities during the IP Visayas Convergence Summit on May 28 to 30, 2018 at Punta Villa Resort, Iloilo City.

Livelihood such as provision of tilapia fingerlings, fishing boats and paraphernalia and aquaculture farm inputs were among of the assistance mentioned by BFAR Representative, Atty. Benjamin Tabios, Jr. during the agencies’ pledge of commitment.

“Ang BFAR mahatag ug agri-fishery inputs sa inyuha, pero kamu magkalot (The bureau will provide you of the agri-fishery inputs, but you will be the one to excavate),” Atty.Benjamin Tabios explained.

According to Attorney Tabios, IPs [for those living in upland] interested in fish farming will be provided with fisheries training on aquaculture and good practices prior to implementation. He also introduced the BFAR’s F/B Pagbabago program, wherein fisherfolk will be trained to fabricate their fiberglass reinforced plastic boats provided with fabrication materials, appropriate fishing gears and marine engine.

An educational assistance through Fisheries Scholarship Program-Fisherfolk Children Educational Grant (FSP-FCEG) is also one of the BFAR programs offered to the IP students. This scholarship covers financial privileges that include monthly stipend, book allowance and On-the-Job training, thesis and graduation support. ,

Attorney Tabios clarified that IP students could apply for the scholarship provided that, they are children of fisherfolk and would willing to take fisheries course. He also announced that the application for the fisheries scholarship will be accommodated as early of December for the next school year.

Trainings to capacitate IPs such as savings mobilization, disaster-related measures and fisheries management will also be provided to tribal people. 

“These fisheries programs are already mainstreamed in the bureau’s regular PAPs that include IPs. BFAR through regional and provincial offices [of Region 6, 7 and 8] will assists you [IP fisherfolk] to be registered in the Fisherfolk Registration or FishR for you to be able to avail these programs and other projects of the bureau, wherever is applicable,” Attorney Tabios said.

Correspondingly, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. graced the event giving his full recognition to the IPs who remains faithful to themselves and to their tribe despite of the social challenges they are facing. He also appreciates their support and trust to the government, especially in attending the said summit.

“Pasalamat ko kaayo gihapun sa inyo kay daku pa inyo nga pagtuo sa inyong kaugalingon. Kay kung naa man kausaban sa inyong anhay, kamu lang usab ang makasugod sa maong kausaban (I'm still thankful to all of you for having so much faith in yourself. Because even if there are to change in your life, it’s still you who could change it),” Cabinet Secretary Evasco said.

The three-day summit, which intends to come up with a responsive action addressing the issues and concerns of the IPs in the Visayas has been successfully established through the resolutions and manifesto in support of Executive Order, IPs Declaration of ICCs/IPs in support to Government IP Peace Agenda which was turned over to Cabinet Secretary Evasco in behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Let government be responsive to the needs of the IPs. Let’s make this government responds to their, resources, health, education and needs of the so-called utilities and infrastructure. Let this be a pole to this government,” CabSec Evasco said as he appealed to the national agencies.

The IPVCC summit was organized through the initiatives of the National Commission on Indigenous People in collaboration with the Office of the Cabinet Secretary. The summit is a response to the recent directive from President Duterte to ensure the social integrity, peace and security, basic services, infrastructure and utilities, environmental protection as well as economic development of IP lands and their communities.

Agencies such as the Department of Agriculture-BFAR (DA-BFAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Department of Energy (DOE) among others and the provincial and local government of Visayas regions supported and participated the said summit.