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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Fisherfolks in Palawan receive gov’t cash aid

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Some 1,589 fisherfolk and indigent senior citizens from Aborlan, Palawan received nearly P6 million in cash assistance in line with the commitment of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez to help its residents feeling the pinch of the growing tension in the West Philippine Sea.

The cash aid, under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis (AICS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, was handed into the qualified residents of Aborlan in payouts held on March 11 and 12 through the Palawan 3rd District Caretaker Office.

It can be recalled that Romualdez was designated as caretaker of the district, which includes Aborlan and Puerto Princesa City, following the demise of its elected representative and former Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn in October last year.

“This payout manifests my solemn commitment to help the distressed residents of Aborlan as their caretaker and in accordance with the policy of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. that no one should be left behind. This is just the beginning as we are working in earnest to honor the rest of the pledge I gave to the leaders of fisherfolks during our recent meeting,” Romualdez said.

“Let me also express my gratitude to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian for the swift action on our endorsement of the request for assistance of the Aborlan residents,” added Romualdez, leader of the 310- strong House of Representatives.

In the pa out held on March 12, some 589 fisherfolks from Barangay Apurawan and Barangay Culandanum in Aborlan received P5,000 each in cash assistance under the AICS program.

The recipients were members of five separate groups of fishermen in the town, namely Culandanum Fishermen’s Association, Landing Fisherfolk Association, Patis Processors and Fisherman Association, Sto. Nino Apurawan Marginal Fisherfolk Association, and the Sitio Bubusawin Fishermen Association.

A separate payout conducted through the caretaker office held on March 11 and 12 provided 1,000 senior citizens of Aborlan P3,000 each as food assistance, also under DSWD’s AICS program.

It could be recalled that last March 1, leaders of more than 600 fishermen from Aborlan whose livelihood was affected by the escalation of tension in WPS and competition with big fishing vessels from neighboring countries sought the help of the ACT-CIS.

Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo accompanied them for an audience with Romualdez, who was in Palawan at that time to inaugurate his caretaker office and distribute relief assistance to victims of fire that razed two barangays in Puerto Princesa as well as other forms of aid to qualified constituents of the caretaker district.

Among others, the leaders of Aborlan fisherfolks requested scholarships for their children,  an ice plant and fuel depot, alternative livelihood opportunities, as well as the possibility of government support to acquire bigger fishing boats.

Right there and then, Romualdez instructed his staff to work on expediting the grant of scholarship to over 1,000 fishermen’s children, as well as on the rest of their requested assistance.

The Speaker also said he would consult with Rep. Jose Alvarez of Palawan to provide larger boats for the fisherfolks, particularly through the cooperatives they agreed to form.

Romualdez also assured the fishermen of the provision of alternative livelihoods for their families, such as food processing facilities.

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