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200 Fishers to Benefit from P3-M RP-AusAid Project

Two hundred fishermen and their families in Bato and Baras towns will be organized and trained on disaster preparedness and management as well as livelihood ventures under a P3-million project funded by the Philippine Government and the Australian AID.

Implemented under the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP), the project being managed by the Diocese of Virac Social Action Foundation, Inc. (DVSAFI) began last September in the fishing villages of Pananaogan in Bato, Putsan and Danao in Baras and will end on February 28, 2014.

Rev. Fr. Laudemer Jose Gapaz, DVSAFI executive director, disclosed that AusAid provided P2 million while the balance was shouldered by the government as counterpart. The 18-month project is in support of the government’s thrust to educate coastal barangay residents on the importance of disaster preparedness and management.

All 200 fisherfolks from the three barangays will be trained on disaster risk management and on the use of appropriate tools and equipment. A select group of 50 men will undergo water rescue operation and survival training as well as basic life support, after which the two fisherfolk organizations will be provided safety equipment such as compass, life vests, blinkers, head lamp and radios. The organizations will be accredited in the respective towns as members of local special bodies.

Aside from DRR-related legislation to be sought from barangay councils, the project will have as its output the preparation of a DRR profile, to include an inventory of evacuation houses, transportation facilities and persons with medical background. The final output will be a DRR operational plan, for which the commitment of resident-beneficiaries would have to be sought.

Alternative livelihood opportunities would be provided the beneficiaries through trainings on bio-intensive gardening and fish processing, with seeds to be given by the local agriculture offices and 14 sets of garden tools purchased under the project.

The implementation of the project is providential as it comes in the wake of confirmed reports of many fishermen from Catanduanes declared missing during inclement weather, especially when the lack of food for their families forces them to brave rough seas.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune

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