Six coastal towns in the Second District of La Union province have received the first 36 fiberglass-reinforced plastic boats from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources upon the request of Rep. Sandra Y. Eriguel.
The 36 boats delivered as of August 2018 represent the first batch of the 220 fiberglass boats requested by Eriguel for marginal fisherfolk of La Union’s Second District.
Fiberglass boats are considered better and safer fishing boats than typical wooden units because of their sturdy materials that are designed to survive rough seas.
“The provision of these boats would improve the socio-economic conditions of our underprivileged constituents in these coastal communities who rely on fishing for their livelihood,” Eriguel said in her letter to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol through Undersecretary and BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona.
BFAR Region 1 Director Lilibeth L. Signey said that of the 220 fiberglass boats that Congresswoman Eriguel requested, the agency has awarded 36 units to the municipalities of Bauang, Caba, Aringay, Agoo, Sto. Tomas, and Rosario.
The boats from BFAR include 19 30-footer units, 15 27-footer units, and two 17-footer units. About 72 families would benefit from the boats, as each unit will be shared by two families to ensure that the boat is utilized for the purpose.
Eriguel said that on top of the 36 boats, an additional 50 units will be fabricated by each fisherman-beneficiary at the Agoo Playa Hotel compound in Agoo, La Union.
The fabrication of the boats by the beneficiaries is under BFAR’s “Bangka Ko, Gawa Ko” scheme. BFAR will supply the fiberglass materials and the appropriate fishing gear for free.
It will also oversee the skills training of beneficiary-fisherfolk on fiberglass boat fabrication. The beneficiary will likewise undergo training on responsible fishing practices, proper fish handling, value-adding, packaging, and product marketing.
Eriguel thanked Piñol and Gongona for the delivery of the first 36 fiberglass boats, saying the well-built units will provide the fishers of La Union’s Second District with disaster-resilient bancas for their livelihood.