By Manny Piñol
Mainit, Surigao del Norte – Fisherfolks and farmers of Mainit and two other towns by the side of Lake Mainit received the biggest assistance they ever got from government yesterday when the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) distributed 150 fiberglass fishing boats complete with fishing gears and 130,000 fingerlings which were seeded into the 17,000-hectare lake, the third largest in the country.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) also committed loan funds under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) for farmers and fisher folks of P5-M for each of the towns of Mainit, Jabonga and Kitcharao.
It was a great moment for the town, according to Mainit Mayor Crisanta Mondano, as it was the first time that the national government sent a big delegation to the isolated lakeside towns to address the needs of the people.
“You are the first Cabinet secretary to ever come to this part of Surigao del Norte and we thank President Duterte for this,” Mayor Mondano said during her speech welcoming the DA and BFAR team to the town.
The seeding of 60,000 Bangus and 70,000 Carp fingerlings in the lake is part of the BFAR Project BASIL or Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa to increase the fish population in the inland bodies of water of the country, including rivers and creeks.
Only non-invasive and indigenous fish species are used in Project BASIL to ensure that native fish species in the lakes and rivers are preserved and protected.
Two of the country’s biggest lakes- Laguna de Bay and Lake Lanao – have already been seeded with fingerlings.
About 5-mllion fingerlings were seeded in Laguna de Bay on June 19 while Lake Lanao received 2-million fingerlings on Jan. 4 this year.
During the forum which highlights the Biyaheng Bukid sorties in the different parts of the country, farmers who sought help to acquire modern farm equipment also received a loan commitment for tractors, transplanters and harvesters to be used in the 8,000-hectare rice farms of the three lakeside towns.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, personnel of the ACPC will return to Mainit to conduct a one-day orientation for farmers and fisher folks seeding accreditation so they could avail of easy access credit under the PLEA.
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