On the day of the first year anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) announced near-completion of AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative’s targets for the calamity-affected fisherfolk.

With more than 30,000 units of newly-built and repaired boats and materials distributed to fisherfolk in eastern, central and western Visayas and Palawan, AHON! has already surpassed its target before this year ended.

Concurrent DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR director Asis G. Perez said that rehabilitation initiative has so far covered the number of fishing boats damaged and destroyed by the typhoon.

“AHON! worked because a lot of people supported this initiative. From private individuals, corporations, government, non-governmental organizations to the survivors themselves, each one contributed to AHON!’s success,” Perez said.

He, however, clarified that the rehabilitation efforts under AHON! are on-going including the construction of more than 5,000 fiberglass boats for Eastern Visayas. Perez said that other typhoon-stricken regions will start building fiberglass boats soon.

BFAR maintained that the number of boats AHON! built came from the actual number of fishing boats lost to Yolanda based on the agency’s ground assessment.

Aside from the boats, Perez said AHON! also covered post-harvest equipment, particularly, chest freezers, which were turned over were turned over to women-fisherfolk associations, to help them preserve their husbands’ catch and increase the market value of their produce.

Over the course of the rehabilitation efforts, BFAR has distributed a total of 18,000 units of 5.5 horsepower (hp), 7.5 hp, and 12 hp marine engines, 50,557 units of line gears and 35,224 units of gill nets for both motorized and non-motorized fishing boats to fisherfolk communities in the distressed regions.

The agency has also brought down an estimated amount of 178 million pesos for the rehabilitation of typhoon-hit seaweed farming areas. These included 13,840 rolls of 1,000-meter Polyethylene (PE) ropes, 3,460 units of plastic twines and 356,750 pieces of plastic floaters. A total of 865 metric tons of seaweed seedlings were also given to some 8,650 seaweed farmers.     

BFAR was part of the DA-led week-long commemoration of the first year anniversary of typhoon Yolanda from November 4 to 7 in Tacloban City. It was attended by key officials in Agri-fishery sector including Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Senator Cynthia A. Villar,Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, local government officials, private sector, NGOs, and farmers and fisherfolk.