Invest on fishermen’s equipment, training – Gordon
The government should invest more funds for better equipment and technical skills training of Filipino fishermen and their families to mitigate negative impact of more destructive typhoons to them, Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.
Gordon noted that small fishing bangkas or motorized pump boats and its crew are at higher risk against more powerful storms plowing the country every year and are more susceptible to bullying by larger foreign vessels.
“Dapat bigyan sila ng training. Hindi na tayo bangka. Dapat meron tayong mga crew, tulad ng nakikita natin sa sine sa ibang bansa. Lumalawig sa malayong lugar tulad ng China, tulad ng Gloucester fishermen sa America. Lumalawig sila sa malalayong lugar para kumita sila,” he said in a recent radio senatorial forum.
“’Yan ang kailangan natin, hindi na puwede yung hand-to-mouth existence. Baguhin natin. We must adapt to the new challenges. Mayroon tayong mga investments na dapat gawin, pahiramin ‘yung mga cooperative na fishermen, hindi lang baslig, kundi malalaking boat na kayang pumunta sa ibang bansa,” he added.
According to latest official figures, the total fisheries production this year decreased by 2.1 percent compared to 2020. Moreover, commercial fisheries’ volume of production was reduced by 10.3 percent vis-à-vis to last year's output.
There had also been a reported case of harassment by Chinese coast guard boats to Filipino fishing vessels tasked in bringing supplies to stationed soldiers at the marooned BRP Sierra Madre last November.
Gordon, who has five-decades-worth of government service under his belt, pointed out that the country must also increase its budget to boost the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
“Payamanin natin ang bansa natin, para madagdagan natin ang susuporta ng Coast Guard para matulungan sila, hindi yung sinasagaan sila, iniiwan na lang sila doon, hindi pinoproteksyunan ang taumbayan,” he said.
It may be recalled that Gordon recently pushed for the immediate approval of Senate Bill (SB) 2265 seeking to institutionalize the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, the PCG's volunteer citizen’s arm.
The PCGA, which will entail the services of thousands of fishermen, will primarily assist the government during marine search and rescue operations as first responders, owing their expertise in their areas of concern.
Fishermen will also be accorded pertinent training and communication equipment for the magnification of the country's patrol capabilities among its over 7,600 islands.