Thursday, November 26, 2015

Spain, Philippines return to Samar island to help fishers recover with ‘peace boats’

Local fisherfolk from three Eastern Samar towns who were among the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 received 63 ‘peace boats’ recently from a joint project of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Agencia Española Cooperacion International para el Desarrollo (AECID or Spanish Aid) to help survivors of the disaster get back on their feet.

"We know that the Yolanda experience can never meet our imagination, how hard it was for you, but we are here to extend the kind of help you deserve. We are here to strengthen and build relationships in our pursuit of peace and prosperity,” said OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles during the turnover ceremony held in the town of Hernani, Eastern Samar.

The 63 ‘peace boats’ comprise the latest batch turned over to the Yolanda-devastated fishing communities in Samar island under the joint OPAPP-AECID project. The Boat and Net Livelihood Project dubbed as ‘BangKapayapaan’ (peace boat) was conceptualized right after Yolanda hit vast parts of the country in November 2013. At its end, the project should benefit some 400 fisherfolk from selected coastal communities in Samar island.

Each ‘peace boat’ comes complete with gear, fishnet, and engine.

Those targeted to receive the ‘peace boats’ were prioritized based on the case studies and assessment made by their respective Municipal Social Welfare and Development offices. The communities were identified based on the number of coastal barangays per municipality, and the number of actual fishers severely affected. 

This latest batch of 63 ‘peace boats’ benefited 148 fisherfolk from the fishing communities in the municipalities of Hernani, Lorente, and Gen. MacArthur in Eastern Samar province. To ensure the safety of the fishers in these areas, the boats were made to follow the specifications of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources—making them fit to sail in the Pacific Ocean.

In March 2014, an initial batch of 50 ‘peace boats’ was turned over to fishers from Sta. Rita town in Western Samar province and from the municipalities of Villareal and Marabut in Samar province.

‘BangKapayapaan’ is lodged under the AECID-funded Mainstreaming Peace and Development in Local Governance Project, which seeks to instill conflict-sensitivity and peace promoting principles in local governance.

Also present to witness the event were delegates from Spain led by Spanish Ambassador H.E. Antonio Calvo; AECID General Coordinator Juan Pita; OPAPP officials, including Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo and Assistant Secretary Jennifer Oreta; Mayors Tito Codoy, Jr of the town of Llorente and Edgar Boco of the town of Hernani, representatives from the provincial government of Eastern Samar, and officials from other regional line agencies. (OPAPP)

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