DA-BFAR HITS 1 MILLION MARK OF REGISTERED FISHERFOLK, LAYS HEALTH CARE AND OTHER INSURANCE SUPPORT FOR THE SECTOR
In line with government’s pursuit of inclusive growth for all sectors of the country, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has announced on Friday that it already reached the 1 million mark of registered fisherfolk nationwide under the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration or FishR. Data from this program are now being used as the government provides insurance benefits for municipal fisherfolk.
These benefits which include health care and personal and crop insurance coverage are only among various interventions the government targets for the municipal fisheries sector which implementation will be more efficient because of the comprehensive registry of fisherfolk , said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who was the keynote speaker in BFAR’s “Rehistradong Mangingisda: 1 Milyon Na at Hihigit Pa! Announcement Day” held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management.
“The welfare of our municipal fisherfolk is one of the utmost priorities of the Aquino administration. It is our goal to ensure that every fisherfolk has access to basic services especially when it is most needed,” Alcala explained. Having a comprehensive fisherfolk registry is one way of ensuring this access.
Republic Act No. 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 mandates the development of a registry of municipal fisherfolk for the purpose of identifying priorities among them, managing the municipal waters, monitoring fishing activities and other related purposes. Since the approval of the Fisheries Code, only around 50,000 of the estimated 1.6 million fisherfolk nationwide had been registered. After the extensive nationwide preparation for the implementation of FishR in the second quarter of 2013, the program formally began on January 1, 2014. Since then over one million fisherfolk have already been listed under the program, finally addressing a task that had seen a backlog for 16 years. The number is expected to increase and reach the estimated total of fisherfolk in the country in the next few months.
Through close collaboration with local government units (LGUs), the BFAR has finally come up with a comprehensive list of duly registered fisherfolk.
According to BFAR national director Asis G. Perez, the registry is a very useful resource for the implementation of programs by BFAR’s partner agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
Currently, the FishR registry is being cross-matched with the list of the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction or NHTS-PR of the DSWD and with the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture or RSBSA of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). When a FishR registered fisherfolk is also in the said lists, he/she will automatically be given a PhilHealth number and personal and crop insurance coverage which will include indemnification for fishing boats, seaweeds and other aquaculture stocks in case of calamity.
“These are only among the initial benefits we have for our municipal fisherfolk. We will make sure that every figure and information we will get from FishR will be translated to concrete programs that will further develop the livelihood of our fisherfolk,” Alcala said in his keynote speech.
Meanwhile, fisherfolk leaders from different regions expressed appreciation in the announcement of the BFAR.
Milagros “Ka Mila” Chavez of the municipality of Cuenca in Batangas said she continuously encourages fellow fisherfolk in their province to register under FishR.
“I told my fellow fisherfolk of the benefits of being registered in FishR and they were glad to know that the government has programs for our sector especially for those who live in far-flung places,” said Ka Mila in Filipino.
BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES
Information and Public Relations Group
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Mobile Number/s: 0917-8914233