1st provincial fisheries office opened in CamSur

BFAR Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro with Pili Town Mayor Tomas Bongalonta (seated) listening during the inauguration of the Camarines Sur Fisheries Provincial Office. Photo courtesy of MIO LGU Pili

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay PILI, Camarines Sur --- Bicol Regional Director Dennis Del Socorrro of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) led the blessing and inauguration of the first Provincial Fisheries Office (PFO) in the Bicol region last June 26 at the Department of Agriculture (DA) compound in Bgy. San Agustin, this town. “We are here to fulfil the mandate given to us by President Rodrigo Duterte -- that is, to give what is due to our farmers. The President directed us that within 2 to 3 years, we have to ensure that the lives of those in the fishery sector have already improved. He specifically orders the bureau to directly give the programs of the government to our fishermen – and that is exactly what we are doing,” del Socorro emphasized. This is the first ever PFO to be erected in the region. An overwhelmed PFO Camarines Sur Chief Consuelo A. Sempuego said that after almost 36 years of transferring from one province to another, they now have a place they can call their own. “This building is a dream-come-true! We now have a permanent address, which means that our clients will have easier way to access our services,” Sempuego added. The 3-storey Camarines Sur PFO will be BFAR’s implementing arm in ensuring that its services are delivered to its clientele. Among its livelihood support to fishers are the distribution of fishing gears, giving out of motorized and non-motorized bancas to its beneficiaries, technical assistance in seaweed farming, dispersal of fingerlings and other assistance to fishpond owners, among others. The PFO will cater to the needs of an estimated 37,619 registered fisher folks in Camarines Sur. Pili Mayor Tomas P. Bongalonta expressed appreciation for DA’s move to house Bicol’s first PFO in Pili, the capital town of Camarines Sur. “Our provincial government is here in Pili, the DA Regional office is also here, plus the airport. One of the leading agricultural schools in the country is also situated in this town- the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA). Big car companies are all lined up along Pili’s national highway – now we have the first PFO here in our beloved town,” Bongalonta exclaimed. There is a total of 22 coastal municipalities in the province that comprise 133 barangays.