By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) turned over three refrigerated container vans called “Palamigan ng Bayan” to the Provincial Government of Cebu, Monday.
The “Palamigan ng Bayan” is an initiative of DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who had realized the difficulties encountered by local farmers and fisherfolks in the delivery of their produce to and from the market due to the travel restrictions implemented by various provinces under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
CPA General Manager Leonilo Miole said the provision of reefer vans aims to help the local government preserve locally produced goods prior to transport and distribution, support the local farmers and fisherfolks and to address concerns on the storage of food supply in the province.
The 20-foot reefer container vans will be used as cold storage of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meat products and other perishable goods and supplies, Liole added.
Cebu governor Gwen Garcia said one of the three units was already deployed to the Municipality of San Remigio Fish Port, while the remaining two were delivered to the Cebu South Bus terminal and will be used for the Provincial Bagsakan Central.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7)-Central Visayas has made fish supply available to communities in the region amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown through the various “Kadiwa on Wheels” that go to barangays and remote communities in the region.
BFAR-7 Regional Information Officer Alma Saavedra bared that there was enough fish supply in fish landing markets and in Kadiwa on Wheels due to the close coordination and regular monitoring of fish and agricultural products in the market.
“We are continuously in coordination with our local fishery offices and various fisher folk organizations, local government units and other concerned government agencies in Central Visayas to always facilitate the entry of cargoes and supplies especially those fish/agricultural products in cross boarders as lockdown protocols are strictly being implemented,” Saavedra added
There are more than 100,000 registered fisherfolk in Central Visayas and BFAR-7 has remained steadfast in its commitment to assist these various fishermen organizations and LGUs to ensure that fish products are available in communities at the current prevailing prices and provide income to the fisherfolks in times of COVID-19 pandemic, Saavedra stated.
Regular price monitoring, sea patrolling, fishing boats and fingerlings distribution, coordination and constant dialog with fisherfolks organizations’ leaders in the region are some of the important services of BFAR-7 to provide the fishery sector with capacities to be partners in government food security program, Saavedra said.
In Bohol, BFAR-7 turned over 62,000 tilapia fingerlings to Loboc town and were released in April to get to the farthest end of Loboc River and hoped to flourish in number and become a fish production area. “We hope to increase the tourism value of the famous Loboc River Cruise,” Saavedra added.
In Cebu, the BFAR-7 Community Based Multi-Species Hatchery (CBMSH) in Medellin town has restored its operations after it was destroyed by strong winds brought about by typhoon Ursula that hit northern Cebu in December 2019.
The CBMSH-Medellin recently produced 150, 000 milkfish or bangus fry with larvae sourced from Central Bangus Hatchery (CBH) in Pangangan Island, Calape town, Bohol these were harvested and stocked in Carmen Brackish water Fish Farm (CBFF) in Carmen town, Cebu to rear it to fingerling size.
The eight facilities of BFAR-7 are continuously operating despite the logistic and mobility problems encountered during these times to assure the availability of milkfish fry and fingerlings for distribution to fisherfolk and private operators in Central Visayas, Saavedra said.
In Negros Oriental, various “Kadiwa on Wheels” or mobile markets have been mobilized to remote areas in Dumaguete and in other towns to bring fresh fishes closer to communities in lockdown and to ensure that the small fisherfolks make good income from their efforts.