Fisherfolk urges BFAR to use 2013 budget for coastal resource management

THE FISHERFOLK alliance called on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to spend more on coastal resource management activities than the counter-insurgency related programs.

Pamalakaya said of the P 4.406 B allotted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to BFAR, a total of P 122, 961,000.00 will be spent for Payapa at Masaganang Mamamamayan (Pamana) project, a counter-insurgency program associated with Oplan Bayanihan, which will focus on the mobilization of civilian communities and local government units against groups or organizations perceived as enemies of the state.

The Pamana program of Oplan Bayanihan has P 5.1 billion spread in different agencies like DA ( P1.5 b), DSWD ( P 1.5 B), DAR  (P 208 million), DILG ( P 1.6 billion),and DOE-NEA (P150 million). The civilian component of the counter-insurgency program will be implemented in 4,943 local government units through these government agencies.

The group said the national government will only spend P 80, 185,000.00 for coastal resource management, of which P 55,297,000.00 will be sourced from foreign donors, while P 24,888,000.00 will be sourced from the national coffers.

The Pamalakaya official said the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) program of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) only constitutes P 135 million as compared to the P 242,918,000.00 allotted for Pamana counter-insurgency operations to be undertaken the environment department.

“Imagine, government agencies like BFAR and DENR are given counter-insurgency budgets which are higher to what they should dwell more like environmental protection, risk reduction and resource management. The 2013 national budget is a war budget in essence with over 5 billion pesos of taxpayers money being allotted for the civilian component of Oplan Bayanihan,” the group said.

The P 122 million Pamana budget for BFAR will be spent for surveillance and data gathering activities on communities crowded by small fisherfolk particularly in Region V or Bicol Region and Region IX  where there is supposed resurgence of armed political groups like the New People’s Army.

The group said under the proposed budget, BFAR is tasked to report regularly to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), Pamalakaya said.

Pamalakaya also questioned the P 3.6 billion earmarked for National Fisheries Program as proposed by DA and BFAR for 2013. The group said the NFP budget will be spent more on the procurement of fishery equipment which is the source of long-running act of corruption in DA and BFAR.

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