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BFAR-XI accelerates programs, ensures food security amid COVID-19
Philippine Information Agency 25 Apr 2020, 22:38 GMT+10

DAVAO CITY, April 24 (PIA) - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region XI continually oversees the fishing activities and accelerates programs in the region, ensuring food security amid the threat of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

BFAR-XI Regional Director Fatma Idris said they have proactively lined up and accelerated existing programs to safeguard food security and to assist the fisherfolk communities through skills development, technical advisory and provision of fishery resources/tools.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Idris said that BFAR-XI is focusing efforts in streamlining the procedures on the issuance of food passes and local transport permits for cargoes.

This is to ensure unhampered and unimpeded movement of all food and production commodities/items, pursuant to the national government directives.

As of April 22, 2020, BFAR-11 reported a total of 761 food passes and 1,713 local transport permits which have been issued in the region, with a total production of 2,057.97 metric ton and an estimated value of Php285,054,595.

Aside from the cargo/truck operators, food passes have also been distributed to eligible private vehicle applicants, provided that the vehicle be used only for delivery of products.

For the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash assistance, BFAR-XI has already provided an initial list of 58,110 fisherfolk beneficiaries from across Davao Region to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-11).

Idris said that the beneficiaries were identified through the Fish-R database. After assessment and validation, DSWD-11 will download the appropriate fund to the respective local government units for distribution.

She said that the agency has also regularly participated in the series of Kadiwa on Wheels mobile market activities of the Department of Agriculture Region 11 in Davao City, which aims to provide assistance to local fish vendors and producers in order to reach consumers and offering them a wide selection of fish products during this difficult time.

The regular monitoring of prices of fishery products has also been a continuous activity of BFAR-11, as this would assure price stability of fish commodities in public markets.

Amidst this crisis, Idris has assured the public that BFAR-11 "is one with the government's efforts to achieve and maintain food sufficiency in this challenging time."

"BFAR-11 remains committed with its mandate to undertake measures to support and provide Filipinos, especially in Davao Region, access to adequate, safe and affordable food commodities particularly fishery products," she stated.

Among the other programs that is being strengthened is the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program which provides livelihood interventions to beneficiaries, such as provision of Fiberglass motorized banca, fishing gears, trainings and provision of marine fishcage.

From this program, BFAR-11 was able to record a 118.93427 metric ton fish production from the municipalities of Maco, Mabini and Pantukan, all in Davao de Oro province, as of March 2020.

BFAR-11 also sustained its Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) Program, which aims to promote and strengthen sustainable aquaculture by rehabilitating and restoring the physical conditions of lakes, rivers and reservoirs. (PIA-XI/Carina L. Cayon)



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