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    VP Leni Robredo visits mangrove project in Zamboanga Sibugay, shares progress of local fishing community

    VP Leni Robredo visits mangrove project in Zamboanga Sibugay, shares progress of local fishing community

    Vice President Leni Robredo visited a thriving mangrove rehabilitation project in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, that has provided new sources of livelihood to the community.

    The presidential aspirant was joined by 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon, who served as her guide while exploring the area on Monday, January 24. Ballon and other fishermen were responsible for the rehabilitation of the hectares-wide mangrove project in Kabasalan.

    During her visit, Robredo logged onto Facebook Live to share updates on the success of mangrove project.

    “Noong bago nila sinimulan itong project na ‘to, itong dagat kung saan nandito tayo ngayon, patay na ‘to. Wala na ‘yung mga isda, wala nang hanapbuhay ‘yung tao,” Robredo said on the livestream, where she was seen riding a floating cottage festooned with pink décor.

    She said that due to the lack of livelihood, at one point, only five fishermen were left in the area, including Ballon.

    “Lima lang silang natira at nag-umpisa nitong project na ‘to. Tiniyagaan nila ‘yung mangrove plantation. Dahil sa pagtitiyaga, nabuhay ulit ‘yung dagat,” she said.

    Today, the mangroves are thriving and are providing various sources of livelihood to the community. Some of those who had left the town to seek better opportunities elsewhere have since returned, as the area now has rich marine resources they can utilize.

    Robredo led the turnover and awarding of the Certificate for the Sustainable Livelihood Subsidy to the members of the Kapunungan sa Gagmay’ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion (KGMC), led by Ballon.

    Talabahan (talaba farms) is now one of the major sources of livelihood in Kabasalan, which the locals were able to set up through the help of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and its partners.

    The program is part of Robredo’s commitment to sustainable livelihood and continuing engagement with the community. Robredo advocates people empowerment where citizens are treated as partners in development.

    Many women, specifically widows, are now engaged talaba farming.

    “Karamihan sa kanila mga babae, mga balo. Sila 'yung mga kulang ng hanapbuhay,” said Robredo. “Dati daw nakikisakay lang sila sa ibang may bangka para makiisda pero noong nabigyan na natin sila ng bangka, araw-araw na sila ditong nangingisda. Ito po project po natin ito, talabahan.”

    She added: "Nakakatuwa na happy ‘yung mga tao dito, proud sila ng ginagawa nila. Parati tayong excited tumulong pag nakikita natin na ‘yung kaunting tulong natin goes a long, long way.”

    Robredo also shared that while they used to ride a motorized banca going to the mangroves, she and Ballon now rode a floating cottage. The Vice President was the first passenger of the floating cottage, which Ballon said will be used to promote ecotourism in the area.

    In 2021, the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation recognized Ballon’s efforts in leading his fellow fisherfolk to restore to life a “dying fishing industry by creating a sustainable marine environment .”

    Ballon has been engaged by the OVP to share his knowledge with other fisherfolk groups around the country .

    “Ang promise nga natin dun sa mga tinuturuan ni Ka Dodoy, madala sila dito para makita nila with their own eyes kung ano talaga ‘yung itsura pag inaalagaan yung environment,” Robredo said. [End]

     

    Posted in Press Releases on Jan 25, 2022