NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The fish buy-back program of the Provincial Government of Bohol ( PGBh ) will formally kick-off after the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) had finally signed last Wednesday during the simple but fitting program held at 2nd Floor, Provincial Planning and Development Office, New Capitol Building.
The signing was made and entered into between the Provincial Government of Bohol ( PGBh ) represented by Gov. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado, presidents of the 17 Peoples Organizations and 10 traders in the province of Bohol that was witnessed by Acting Provincial Agriculturist Larry, Provincial Fishery Officer Candido Samijon, Provincial Cooperative Coordinator Maria Conrada Fuentes and Cecilio Clarete from Land Bank of the Philippines.
Gov. Aumentado in his inspirational message said that the high prices of fish is a great challenge to us which need to be addressed.
Gov. Aumentado bared that aside from addressing other pressing problems in the province, the ( PGBh ) has also focusing now the” Isda Program” which has a strong collaboration with the Peoples Organizations (POs) and local traders.
Executive Assistant for Agriculture Engr. Ricardo Oblena who is also the chairman of the Task Force Isda Program said that he is hopeful that after the signing of MOA , the program could take off.
Oblena said that as of now as initial stage of the program, the POs have displayed and sold fish from the local fish catch, Surigao and Zamboanga at the Old City Airport, and Dampas Public Market while continued to negotiate the city government to secure the areas at the Causeway, Manga and Cogon markets for the said purpose with the prices that are cheaper than those at the wet markets and malls.
He emphasized that the program aims to penetrate in the entire province so that the Boholano fish buying public may feel the efforts of the provincial government under the Gov. Aumentado and Vice-Gov. Dionisio Victor Balite administration in answering the problem on high prices of fish here in Bohol.
Oblena explained that under this program, the POs will supply fish to the traders and the traders will sell it to the identified areas with a mark -up of only P20/kilo.
Provincial Fishery Officer Samijon for and in behalf of Dr. Allan L, Poquita, BFAR-7 Regional Director said that this program would greatly help the fisherfolks and lessen the marketing layer in selling of fish in the markets.
Samijon said that it is sad to note that the price of fish from the fisherfolks can be bought at only one hundred pesos per kilo but when it arrives at the wet markets, the price will double.
He said that they strongly support this program, in fact they offer their reefer van to be used in freezing the unsold fish.
Argeo Melisimo, Committee Member, Task Force Isda Program, on the other hand cited the important of media in this program.
Melisimo believed that this project would create a big impact to the Boholanos as he excited to wait the result and thankful to the provincial government, POs and traders to come up with this program.
Renato Auxtero, PO president from Talibon was very thankful to the program which enable them to borrow money at the Land Bank of the Philippines with the lowest interest rate to purchase fishing paraphernalia for their livelihood.
Auxtero thanked the provincial government in having this program.
Clarete said that the Land Bank of the Philippines which is the second largest commercial bank in the Philippines serving the Filipinos for about 60 years and already 32 years of operations in Bohol would not hesitate to finance loans to the POs with only 2% interest per annum because they know the good intention of the project.
He said that hopefully in the future if the operations of the program would be smooth and successful, there might be a possibility that they will offer a grant to the POs for this project.
THE 17 PEOPLES ORGANIZATIONS
The 17 POs proposed to have an initial loan in the amount of P18,000,000.00 broken down into the following: Bien Unido Poblacion Small Fishermen’s Association ( P1,000,000.00), Nagkahiusang Mananagat sa Puerto San Pedro (P1, 000,000.00), Nagkahiusang Gamay’ng Mananagat sa Pinamgo ( P1,000,000.00), Berhin sa Kalooy Fishermen’s Association ( P1, 250, 000.00 ), Tabon Seaweeds Farnmers Association ( P1, 250, 000.00 ), Cataban Fisherfolks Development Association ( P1, 250, 000.00 ), Busalian Crab Pickers Association ( p1, 250, 000.00 ), Eastern Cabul-an Fisherfolks Association ( P3, 000.000.00 ), Western Cabul-an Fisheries Association ( P2, 000, 000.00 ),
Getafe Fisherfolk Marketing Cooperative (P800, 000.00), Kahugpongan sa mga Gagmay’ng Mananagat sa Jandayan Sur ( P 880, 000.00 ), Banacon Growers of Seaweeds and Mangrove Association ( P 1, 000. 000.00), Pandanon Mananagat Association (P500, 000.00), Purok 1-Pandanon Marginalized Fishermen Association ( P500, 000.00 ), Great Women’s Association of Pandanon ( P700, 000.00 ) and Managhiusang Mananagat sa Pandanon ( P620, 000.00 ).
THE 10 TRADERS
The 10 traders who will buy the fish catch from the fishermen’s associations and cooperatives are namely: Edgardo Bag-ao (Chairman-Poblacion Norte, Bicao, Katipunan, Guadalupe, Buenavista Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Carmen ), Eufemio Abaniel ( Chairman-Carmen Samahang Nayon, Poblacion Sur, Carmen ), Melchor R. Daniel, Sr.( Chairman – Bohol Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Poblacion, Loay ), Maria Regielou C. Café (VP/External Affairs Officer, Tubigon Fresh Fish Vendor’s Association, Inc., Poblacion, Tubigon ), Pablo M. Chiong ( Chairman- Tawala Fishers Association, Tawala , Panglao ), Bonifacio Bermoy ( Chairman- Bayanihan, Poblacion, Talibon ), Ammon Dennis R. Tirol ( Chairman- Bohol Fish Producers Cooperative, BFAR, Dao, Tagbilaran City ), John Cyrus V. Salaga ( Chairman, Buon Pastore Agriculture Cooperative of Loboc, Pob. Sawang, Loboc, Bohol ), Marvin C. Bihag ( Chairman- Bohol United Small Entrepreneurs Organization (BUSEO), Catarman, Dauis ), and Salvio I. Makinano ( Chairman- Bohol Diversified Development Service Volunteers, Inc., Purok 3, Looc, Jagna ). (Atoy Cosap)