Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso plans to create a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) which will be independent from the existing Department of Agriculture (DA) if he wins as president in 2022.
Domagoso said that if elected, he will certify the separation of DFAR from the DA as an “urgent bill” before Congress to guarantee that the newly-created department will focus on “helping fishermen to earn more.”
The existing government agency that is responsible for the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources is the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) which is under the DA.
“I will separate it so that there will be a right person or group of people that will address the concerns of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, while those who are experts in rice and high values crops will stay with the Department of Agriculture,” Domagoso said during a dialogue with farmers in Tarlac city on Thursday, Oct. 21.
Councilor Roy Pascua of Barangay Labney in San Jose, Tarlac asked Domagoso what he would do to further increase the production of tilapia as this will help the third and fourth-class municipalities in the province to have enough supply of the fish.
“The creation of DFAR or having a centralized agency that will give more attention to, and support for, the sustainable development of the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources will not only benefit workers in the fisheries sector but also the present and future generations of Filipinos,” Domagoso said.
“Kung ihiwalay natin ang BFAR sa DA, may katiyakan ang mga mangingisda, may katiyakan ang mga land-based agricultural products. Parehong may atensyon then may kapanatagan ang tao na meron siyang machi-chicha (If we will separate the BFAR from DA, there’s the guarantee for fishermen and land-based agricultural products. Both will be given the attention that will ensure that they will have food on their table) because if we believe that threat to national security is food security then the government should ensure that there is sufficient supply of fish and sufficient supply of rice and vegetables for the people’s consumption,” he added.
The presidential aspirant also bared his plan to build cold storage facilities for agricultural regions and provinces which will help fishermen and farmers keep their produce fresh.
He added that the reason why many fishermen resort to drying their fish was due to the absence of cold storage facilities in provinces where fishing is the main source of livelihood.