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CISC research team presents the community-based fishery action plan to local officials of Laguna

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by Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos

The fishery sector is important to the economy of the Philippines yet the fishing communities remain to be poor.

Dr. Miriam R. Nguyen, university researcher at the Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC), acknowledges this challenge. This led her to facilitate the presentation of Community Resilience Action Plans of Fishing Communities to the local officials of Laguna. The action plans presented contain community selected strategies, projects, and activities that aim to address problems and needs in the fishery sector, and uplift the lives of the fisherfolks in lakeshore communities.

The first presentation was held on November 7 at Asiablooms, Santa Cruz in Laguna, where the Santa Cruz action plan was presented to the representatives of the Municipal Agriculture Office and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office. On November 8, the Pakil Action plan presentation was held at Villa Someros, Pakil also in Laguna, and was attended by representatives of the Sangguniang Bayan, Municipal Agriculture Officer, Sanitary Inspector, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, and Bantay-Lawa. Present in both activities were the barangay officials and representatives of the municipal and barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC).

Hon. Ramon D. Tan, municipal councilor of Santa Cruz, graced the presentation for the said municipality. According to him, “Yung pagcope-up sa [climate] change napakahalagang bagay, kasi yan kalaban natin. Naapektuhan yung mga aquatic animals kung saan tayo nabubuhay dahil sa [climate change] na lumalala nang lumalala.” (It is very important to cope with climate change because that is our enemy. The aquatic animals from which we get our living are affected by the worsening of climate change). Meanwhile, Hon. Rolando L. Galing, municipal councilor of Pakil, recognized the need to take care of the lake as he called it “Buhay ng Lalawigan ng Laguna” (Lifeblood of the Province of Laguna). Both councilors came to the respective presentations to hold the opening remarks on behalf of the mayors of Santa Cruz and Pakil.

After the Santa Cruz presentation, Municipal Agriculturist Victorino M. Relocano of Santa Cruz expressed his gratitude to the research team. He said, “Nakita ko po sa pamamagitan ng proyektong ito, isa na rin ito sa tools na kapag na-implement natin ito sa ating bayan ay malaki ang maitutulong nito sa inyo.” He also committed to present the plan to the Sangguniang Bayan of Santa Cruz. Meanwhile, Ms. Theresita K. Payumo, Municipal Agriculturist of Pakil, said that some of the projects are already achievable as they are also aligned with the plans of the Local Government of Pakil. For the other projects identified in the Pakil Action plan, Hon. Narciso A. Catarino, chair of the Committee on Agriculture, gave his commitment to help the fisherfolks in presenting the action plan to the Sangguniang Bayan.

The action plan presentation is the project’s activity for the months of November and December 2018. Together with Dr. Nguyen, Ms. Maria Francesca O. Tan, Ms. Francisca O. Tan, Ms. Roxanne A. Banalo, and Ms. Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos will return to the rest of the project’s study sites to present the action plans. This is to ensure that the plans formulated by fisherfolks and barangay officials are recognized by the officials at the municipal and provincial levels. The project sites are located at Tanauan City and Talisay in Batangas; Jala-jala and Binangonan in Rizal; Naujan and Victoria in Mindoro; and Buhi and Bato in Camarines Sur.

The action plans were a product of the Participatory Community Resilience Action Planning (PCRAP) held from May to July 2018, an activity under Dr. Nguyen’s DA-BAR funded project “Developing Strategies Towards More Resilient Fishing Communities Amidst Climate Change: The Case of Major Lakes in Luzon.” The Santa Cruz and Pakil Action Plans were drafted in July 2018 by the Municipal Local Government Unit (LGU) representatives, barangay officials, and FARMC officers. The resulting action plan is seen as key to improve fisherfolks’ livelihood and living conditions through community-identified projects.

Dr. Nguyen’s project aims to develop improved adaptation strategies in coping with negative effects of climate change. The project has three study components. The first two studies covered 1) characterization and profiling of fishing communities (led by CISC Director Blanquita R. Pantoja) and 2) community-based adaptation strategies on the effects of climate change among fishing communities in Luzon. Both were completed in 2017. Meanwhile, the third study was implemented in 2018, which focused on capacitating fishing communities on climate change adaptation strategies towards improved resiliency. The research team of the third study conducted dissemination and validation of research results from the first two studies, awareness raising and development of strategies to enhance resilience to climate change effects, and training-workshop on PCRAP to help communities develop an action plan.

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