A good number of livelihood projects of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are being implemented in the Municipality of Marabut, Samar. One is the Cash-for-Asset program, whereby the amount of Php 50,000.00 is given to each of the 10 fisherfolk beneficiaries for the construction of their custom-designed fishing boats. These boats, bearing the DSWD logo, have been in existence and operational for more than a year already. Currently, the fisherfolks are considering to process their catch to augment the value of their produce and increase their income.

Another assistance was granted to the Bangusan Association of Brgy. Amantillo which was in operation for almost a year already. The 19 active members were assisted by DSWD in putting up a fishpond and given an initial capital of Php 120,000.00. Their fishpond was damaged by Typhoon Yolanda. They have a plan to expand their bangusan but need additional capital. They are seeking financial assistance from other agencies for additional funding.

The expertise of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would also be solicited for value adding techniques to increase the income of the fisherfolks. In an interview with these fisherfolks, they expressed their plans to lengthen their nets in order to cover a large area and increase the volume of their catch. Others even consider diverting to other fishing techniques to suit the condition of their fishing grounds.

According to ARD Restituto Macuto of the DSWD VIII, additional funding should be allocated for the expansion of this “Bangusan Project” so as to sustain the livelihood of the members. The existing fishpond is not enough to sustain the income of the family of these members. He added that DSWD will facilitate fund sourcing for the Bangusan Project so as to help further the fisherfolks of the barangay.

Marlon T. Andrino, YPMO, NEDA VIII