“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” This famous proverb are words that has long inspired the dedication and commitment of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 8 in helping and empowering the fisherfolk community.
As the Bureau continues its journey towards this particular goal, BFAR8 through its Provincial Fishery Office of Leyte (PFO-Leyte) distributed 30 units of 24 footer fiberglass boat with complete accessories and bottom set gill nets measuring up to 500 meter per set to a total of 60 beneficiaries belonging to the Badjao tribe in Bato, Leyte.
Before the distribution, the Badjaos’ were also taught the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the bottom set gill net by Mr. Clautide Amparado, a training personnel of BFAR8. Likewise, they were also introduced to the motor engine and the proper startup, operation and maintenance by the Provincial Fishery Officer of Leyte himself, Mr. Julius Alpino.
“The Bureau wants nothing in return, except that you take care of the materials given to you and to use them properly so this may help you in your day to day living” PFO Alpino reminded the beneficiaries during the distribution.
The Badjao fisherfolk were also warned to never sell their equipment and similarly, PFO Alpino expressed his fervent hope that through this assistance, they will turn away from their old illegal and dangerous fishing practices and pave way towards a productive and sustainable fishing method.
The Badjaos’ have always been considered as an outcast of the society, mayhaps because they are viewed differently from the majority. And because of this difference they are sometimes oppressed and most of the time the victims of abuse. But what we don’t know, amidst their dark skin, their distinct smell, unique clothing, and peculiar language they are also a lot like us. Beyond their diverse and rich tradition, these people need help and support just like each and everyone of us.
The Bureau in the region extends its assistance to these fisherfolk community so they can improve their lives and become a responsible citizen and an important partner in nation building.