Hundreds of participants joined the Declaration of Fishing Season for Sardines, Herrings and Mackerels in the Visayan Sea in a simple ceremony held on February 15, 2017 at the Community Fish Landing Center, Pawa, Panay, Capiz. The affair was graced by Regional Directors and personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) from Regions 5, 6, 7 and 8, local government officials, representatives from partner agencies, commercial fishers, fisherfolks and community residents. BFAR’s National Director and Undersecretary for Fisheries of the Department of Agriculture, Commodore Eduardo B. Gongona, PCG (Ret) was the Guest of Honor but for some important reasons, he was not able to join.
Mayor Felipe B. Barredo’s message as read by Former Mayor Dante B. Bermejo, recalled how Panay pioneered the Coastal Resource Management in Capiz by explaining that “the original concept of costal resource management revolves around putting access for fisherfolks to the market by laying infrastructure facilities such as roads and bridges. Pawa was originally detached from the town and can only be reached by boat. Today, it is now serving as hub of the fishery industry and if not for Yolanda, we could have seen the continued concrete and tangible development of this place.”
In sustaining the efforts, he explained “But more than the physical infrastructure, we have discovered the concept of capacitating the fisherfolks. We started community organizing way way back and as of today, I can vouch for the capacities of the fisherfolks organization helping in our conservation efforts. Next comes enforcement and we have clothed our Bantay Dagat with the authority to police our municipal waters. Their numbers are growing and you will witness a more stringent and sustained efforts for regulatory enforcement. I love seeing apprehension receipts lately because that means revenue for the municipality but I am also saddened because there are still those who are taking risk despite our no holds barred enforcement.” He lauded the full support of BFAR for the various projects in Panay and expressed that the partnership should continue since there are still so much to do to and concluded by saying “We understand the lay task ahead is overwhelming but if we pool our resources and gets our acts together, we will be able to conquer challenges and achieve what we all dream for the fisherfolks – a sustainable resources and better quality of life.”
In her message, BFAR Regional Director – Region VI, Director Remia A. Aparri appreciated the full support of the various sectors in the conservation efforts for Visayan Sea especially the observance of the Close Fishing Season by virtue of Fishery Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3. She also acknowledged the support of the municipal government of Panay and the coastal communities in the conservation efforts. In behalf of National Director of BFAR, Director Aparri declared the fishing season in the Visayan Sea Open.
Included in the Program is the presentation of Operation Reports and Accomplishments by Ariel U. Pioquinto, OIC-FMRED of BFAR Region V and the Presentation of the Closed Season Impact (results of NSAP Study) by Sheryll V. Mesa, NSAP Project Leader BFAR Region VI.
As a pledged of Support, Lt. JG Rockclisff Buling of Philippine Coast Guard, LCDR Norberto Baylon Jr. of the Philippine Navy, PSupt Lyndel Grace Matillano of the PNP Maritime Group, and SPO4 Joven Arevalo of IPPO took turns in expressing their statement of support.
Other guests in the event was Mr. Rhett Zerudo, Consultant to the Office of the DA Secretary, Dr. Ildefonso Toledo, Provincial Agriculturist of Iloilo, Mr Joey Dela Cruz of Capiz Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Vice Mayor Amy Asis-Bermejo, members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Panay, Provincial BFAR Officers of Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo and Capiz who is Mr. Edwin Candelario Javier. Other representatives from the coastal municipalities in Panay island also participated. Municipal Administrator Rey T. Cordenillo acted as the Host of the Ceremonies.
The guest were entertained by the Eskotis Dancers of Pawa National High School and the Drum and Lyre of Pawa Elementary School. The site of the event was prepared by the personnel from MENRO headed by their Department Head Ramie F. Detaro. The event was covered by ABS-CBN Iloilo and made it to their afternoon news.
A boodle lunch closed the ceremonies.