Director Dennis Del Socorro of BFAR 5 and Regional Technical Director for Operations Dr. Elena B. delos Santos led the groundbreaking ceremony of the P20M Balatan Fishport Project. Also in photo are Mayor Ernesto Bagasbas (3rd from right); Vice Governor Fortunato Peña (center); Paul Maleniza (leftmost) and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Balatan. (photo by Jun Collantes)

To ensure better competitive and fair fish trading, in the Bicol Region, the Department of Agriculture allotted a total of P20M in funds for the construction of the Balatan Fishport project in Camarines Sur.

In his speech, delivered by DA 5 Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension, Dr. Elena B. Delos Santos, Secretary Proceso Alcala underscored the important role of the fisheries sector in the development of the country.

With three-quarters of the country’s geography comprised of water, fishing remains as an important source of livelihood for many Filipinos.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Bicol headed by Director Dennis Del Socorro conducted the site validation of the project and submitted their recommendation to Secretary Alcala who immediately approved the project and downloaded the P20M to the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, who will take charge of the technical aspect of the project.

Director Del Socorro said that the PFDA will start constructing the fishport in February 2015.

Moreover, he urged the fisherfolk in the area to register under the FishR program of the BFAR and added that fishing boats also need to be registered under the National Program on Municipal Fishing Vessels and Gears Registration or BoatR Program.

BFAR 5 will be giving each province a patrol boat for intensified fishery law enforcement activities,” he announced.

Mayor Ernesto A. Bagasbas of Balatan thanked the DA RFO 5, and the Camarines Sur provincial government for the various projects granted to his town including the P4.3 (first tranche of fund transfer) for the construction of an irrigation facility in Brgy. Tapayas; the establishment of artificial reef; and the promotion of organic farming.

Mayor Bagasbas  shared his vision of turning Balatan into a tourist spot or “Little Baguio” boasting of the 16 kilometer  concrete long and winding roads passing along verdant mountain ranges from Nabua to Balatan proper. (Lovella P. Guarin – DA RAFIS 5)