By the Philippines News Agency
The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) conducted test runs in the waters of Occidental Mindoro for the 30-foot fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats equipped with 18-HP diesel engines given to the 22 fishermen involved in the Recto Bank (Reed Bank) incident, as livelihood assistance from the government.
This was revealed by DA Undersecretary and BFAR national director Eduardo Gongona during a forum in Quezon City Monday.
During his visit, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said 11 boats will be given to the victims of the June 9 maritime incident at Recto Bank after their fishing boat was rammed and destroyed by a Chinese fishing vessel. Piñol said the 11 fiberglass boats will be shared by two fishermen.
Gongona said these boats can now be used by the beneficiaries to fish within the municipal waters which is primary home to diverse marine resources like tulingan, gulyasan, and tambakol (skipjack tuna family), galunggong (round scad), dalagang-bukid (fusilier), talakitok (trevally), sapsap (ponyfish) and tamban (sardine), among others, while they wait for the restoration of the motherboat, F/B Gem-Ver 1.
The distribution of the fiberglass boats is part of an existing livelihood assistance program of the DA-BFAR called “FB Pagbabago” where a boat is awarded to and shared by two family-beneficiaries who will be responsible for its maintenance.
The program has distributed a total of 15,000 boats to fishermen since its launch in 2016.
Made from fiberglass materials, these boats are sturdier and more resistant to rot, corrosion and harsh marine environments, and are easier to assemble and repair compared to wooden boats.