Building partnerships: Italy Ambassador Massimo Roscigno with local government officials led by Congressman Fernando V. Gonzalez, BCDI-SAC representatives, and fishers and residents of coastal communities join together during the project launching
Building partnerships: Italy Ambassador Massimo Roscigno with local government officials led by Congressman Fernando V. Gonzalez, BCDI-SAC representatives, and fishers and residents of coastal communities join together during the project launching

To improve the livelihood of coastal communities and increase the quality of marine resources in the Bicol region, the Bicol Consortium for Development Initiative (BCDI) and its member-partner Social Action Center (SAC) Diocese of Legazpi launched the “Partnership for the Sustainable Management of Municipal Waters in Burias Pass, Bicol Region for the Benefit of the Disadvantaged Sector” at Catburawan, Ligao City on 10 September 2015. The project is funded under the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program and shall be implemented until December 2017.

Twelve (12) barangays from four city/municipalities in the Third District of Albay were chosen as project sites. These are:

  • Marigondon, Malidong, Basicao Coastal, and Banawan (Pioduran)
  • Maonon, Cabarian, and Catburawan (Ligao City)
  • Badian and Cagmanaba (Oas)
  • Pantao, Talin-Talin, and Rawis (Libon)

Local government officials of the four municipalities including Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando V. Gonzalez, signed the Memorandum of Agreement on July 29 – August 4, 2015.

Aside from Albay West Coast, 12 barangays from municipalities of Claveria, Donsol, Pilar, and San Pascual of Sorsogon Province were also chosen as project sites.

The project seeks the partnership and participation of Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Private Organizations (POs), and fisher folk organizations to work on the three components: 1.) Policy and Advocacy Enforcement 2.) Natural Resource Regeneration; and 3.) Livelihood Activities.

Further, the project is a continuation of the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) to sustain the livelihood programs and preservation efforts in the coastal areas. Since the CRM implementation, significant accomplishments have already been presented in several municipalities in Bicol.

In a report presented by SAC-Legazpi, 12 Fish Sanctuary ordinances and four (4) coastal resource management plans were already approved. The municipalities of Libon, Claveria, Oas, San Pascual, Donsol approved Water Delineation ordinances while several policy dialogues were conducted with LGUs and government agencies.

The project also concentrates on preserving marine resources and enforcement of anti-illegal fishing policies. The Community Based Monitoring and Enforcement System (CBMES) was launched and established in the coastal communities. The municipalities also conducted (at most four) Municipal Water Patrolling every month. Additional ten (10) trained fishers were deputized as Bantay Dagat per municipality to enforce fishing laws.

It is expected that the “incidence of commercial fishing and illegal fishing in Burias Pass [will be] reduced from 20 per day to 5 in 3 years after project completion,” based on the report.

Furthermore, 100 hectares of mangroves and 100 hectares of near shore forest were rehabilitated. It is projected that by the end of year two, 60% of mangroves and 50 % of forest areas are already rehabilitated.

Aside from protection of marine resources, the project also aims to provide the communities with improved water supply and source of livelihood. According to SAC-Legazpi, two (2) Level II water supply systems were established in Imelda, Claveria and Lagaan, Pioduran benefiting 890 households or 5,287 individuals. If this will be sustained and the number of beneficiaries will increase, water borne diseases will be reduced in the communities.

The project is also targeting at least 80% of households in 24 coastal barangays to engage in kitchen gardening and produce a steady supply of vegetables for family consumption. As of this year, 100 kitchen gardens and 24 communal gardens were established in the project sites. In addition, 150 small fishers were involved and now earning from social enterprise.

As of 2015, there are 3,740 small fishers who are direct beneficiaries the project while 10,151 individuals or 3,384 households are indirect beneficiaries of the project.

It is expected that the project will strengthen the partnership of the stakeholders to amplify the preservation efforts in the coastal areas of Bicol and improve the economic status of coastal communities to achieve sustainable development. Lala Peñafiel | albay3d.blogspot.com

Source: Social Action Center Diocese of Legazpi