Ilocos Norte fisherfolk train on boat building

General

A 30-foot multi-purpose boat made of plastic-reinforced fiberglass is ready to conquer the Ilocos seas and help protect its coastal resources.

A group of boat builders and laborers in the coastal communities of Ilocos Norte as well as representatives of the engineering and architecture departments of the state-run Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) and the provincial and coastal local government units of Ilocos Norte teamed up to provide a nine-day hands-on training on boat construction since April 21.

The final output was presented on Friday during its closing program at the MMSU-College of Aquatic Sciences and Applied Technology in Barangay Pias Sur, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, attended by 40 participants including student-observers who are taking a course on fisheries.

The project is supported by the United States Department of the Interior – International Technical Assistance Program (USDI-ITAP) and Tanggol Kalikasan, a non-government organization,

Richard Acidera, a fisherman from Bacarra town, told Philippine News Agency on Friday that he was excited to see the Ilocos-made fiberglass boat sail the coastal waters of the province.

“It’s so inspiring to see the result of our hard work. We are so thankful for having this rare opportunity to learn the basics of boat building both in theory and in practice,” he said.

After learning new techniques on boat building and repair, Acidera said he looks forward to making his own boat someday. He, however, admitted that the high cost of fiberglass materials would be an obstacle for people like him.

When sold commercially, the boat they made would cost around PHP6 million, according to training implementers.

During the graduation ceremony of the newly-trained boat builders, Ma. Ronely D. Bisquera-Sheen, the in-country coordinator of the USDI-ITAP and executive director of Tanggol Kalikasan, said they are glad to extend assistance to the fisherfolk through innovation and technology.

Aside from providing livelihood opportunities to the participants, the all-expense nine-day training aims to promote the use of environment-friendly and sustainable materials instead of wood—a depleting natural resource typically used in boat building.

According to the training facilitators, the multi-purpose boat will be turned over to the Ilocos Norte government to be used to protect its coastal waters, secure and sustain marine resources, conduct search and rescue, provide transportation, and support local tourism.

The training forms part of a PHP41.5-million (US$800,000), three-year Environmental Justice Sector Reform Program that builds local capacity on the administration of environmental governance and conduct of law enforcement, with a special focus on countering illegal wildlife trade and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing for various stakeholders from coastal municipalities facing the South China Sea.

In February and March this year, a similar training was also conducted in Pangasinan and La Union. The next training will be held in Ilocos Sur from May 24 to June 1, 2022.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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