Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should be quick to assess the damage on fisheries and aquaculture and prepare calamity assistance for affected fisherfolks amid the latest phreatomagmatic eruption of Taal Volcano, according to the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday.
The fishers’ group had this appeal aired to media as the government raised the warning at Taal Volcano at Alert Level 3 due to the eruption that affected the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas, mostly fishing communities situated within the seven-kilometer danger zone.
“We are calling on the BFAR to immediately evaluate the damage of the Taal Volcano eruption to fisheries and aquaculture, leading to reparation for the loss of potential income of fisherfolks and coastal residents situated along the stretch of Taal Lake. We presume that the latest eruption poses serious damage to fisheries and aquaculture as the lake is a traditional fishing site for tilapia, bangus, and the endangered tawilis,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Citing the government’s data, PAMALAKAYA said that in 2018, Taal Lake produced 64, 000 metric tons of tilapia, which is more than a quarter of the country’s total production of the said aquatic species.
Lastly, the fishers’ group said that the evacuated residents from Laurel and Agoncillo towns should be properly assisted in a form of economic aid and medical care in evacuation centers.
“Apart from basic necessities, the evacuees should be given proper medical attention as they could be left exposed to the COVID-19 virus in congested evacuation centers. There should be enough health personnel in evacuation sites to attend to children and senior citizens who are most vulnerable to the virus,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list representative added.
PAMALAKAYA said it will mobilize its members in the provincial chapter Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT) for relief and rehabilitation drive for the affected fishers and coastal residents. The group also said it is now coordinating with the Tulong Anakpawis relief corps for the relief campaign. ###
Fernando Hicap – 0921-897-0239