AFP turns over fishermen’s shelter to Batanes officials

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) led the turn-over of a fishermen's shelter to local officials of Batanes on Monday.


AFP Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat handed over the Mavulis Project, Fishermen's Shelter and Fish Dryers in to the local officials in a ceremony held at Mavulis Island in Batanes.

Defense Undersecretary Ricardo A. David, Jr., who was the guest of honor and speaker in the program, said the fishermen's shelter was a gesture of shared resources from various stakeholders intended to aid/provide the needs of the fishermen of Itbayat and outlying islands of Batanes.

"This (fishermen's shelter) is the AFP's gesture of support to the Filipino fishermen and manifest our commitment in protecting our sovereignty and asserting our ownership in this territory," David said.

For his part, Salamat said it was important for the military and government to support the fishermen of Batanes through the construction of a shelter for their livelihood fishing ventures while at the same time, promoting safety of life at sea or (SOLAS).

In his speech, Salamat also thanked the other stakeholders and various partners who were also instrumental in making sure that the fishermen's shelter will be completed in the soonest possible time.

“I would like to recognize and extend our heartfelt thanks to the local government and community of Batanes as well as our partners and other stakeholders for their significant contribution in making this project a reality that would greatly benefit our fishermen as well as provide maritime protection for our internal waters," Salamat said in his speech.

"I know it was a difficult task to execute but with the collaborative efforts of everyone, we were able to achieve another significant milestone for our country and the Filipino people," he added.

Major Ericson Bulosan, AFP-NolCom spokesman, said stakeholders and partners went on "Bayanihan" mode (spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal) in order to shoulder the cost of building the fishermen's shelter.

"Actually, bayanihan po ang gastos doon dahil marming stakeholder ang nagtulong-tulong," Bulosan said during a phone interview.

Bulosan said aside from the fishermen’s shelter, fish dryers were also constructed to support the same objective.

All projects, he said, will be properly turned over to the local government of Batanes for administration, upkeep, and maintenance.

"This will ensure the shelter's sustainability for continuous utilization for the benefit of the Filipino fisher folks plying that area," he said.

Bulosan said the construction of the multi-purpose shelter was spearheaded by the Bataan LGU and stakeholders last March 23 to cater to the needs of the fishermen of Itbayat and outlying islands of Batanes. (Francis T. Wakefield)