Families of the missing fishermen needs aid – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) demands to the national government to provide direct subsidy to the families of the missing fishermen in Pangasinan.
On October 3, 71 fishermen from Pangasinan went missing as they went deep fishing when the tropical storm Kabayan hit the area.
In a statement, the Pamalakaya Vice-chairperson Salvador France said that the families of the missing fishermen direly needed support from the government as their livelihoods were surely in peril because of the incident.
“Those missing fishermen are forced to go offshore even there is a turbulent weather because if they don’t, their families will surely starve for days.” France said.
The Pamalakaya also blamed the lack of government support to modernize the fishing vessels and technology of the fisherfolk despite the existing fisheries law that is supposed to modernize and upgrade the backward fishing methods of our fishing industry.
“What happened to the Fisheries Code of 1998 which is supposedly modernizing the backward and primitive mode of fishing of our fisherfolk? The Fisheries Code of 1998 has failed to modernize our decade-backward fishing industry.” France said.
Under the Fisheries Code of 1998, there is a provision that will allot P100 million for the upgrading and development of fishing vessels. But up to now, there is no clear audit report on the P100-million fund appropriated annually for the municipal fisherfolk under the Municipal Fisheries Grant Fund.
“While our small-fisherfolk are suffering from their primitive and low-tech fishing boats, the government is allotting P250-million for Commercial fishing vessels development and P50-million for aquaculture investments courtesy of the 17-year old anti-fisherfolk Fisheries Code of 1998. This is a clear biased for big commercial fishers!” France added.
“What happened to our fisherfolk is a clear reflection of the government’s neglect in helping and providing a better subsidy that will uplift the lives of the poorest of the poor sector in our country.” France ended. ###