LINGAYEN – Member agencies and institutions of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Council recently convened to address the recurring problem of fishermen failing to return from the sea.
PDRRM officer Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro, told the council meeting held on March 2 that solutions are needed to minimize if not stop the incidence of missing fishermen, particularly in the coastal towns of Agno, Bani, Bolinao, Dasol, and Infanta.
”If it cannot be totally eliminated, then we must at least prevent it from happening,” Oro said.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported the highest number of missing fishermen in 2015 with 164 during the onslaught of Typhoon Kabayan. In 2014, there were 33, in 2016 (19), in 2017 (17); and to date, 7.
Captain Joseph Coyme, Philippine Coast Guard Northwestern Luzon District Commander, noted that fishermen from Western Pangasinan towns end up missing during the Amihan (Northeast monsoon) season, which is dominated by trade winds.
Despite early warning from the PDRRM council of a weather disturbance, there are still fisherfolk who risk going out to the sea. “We can’t stop them from their livelihood. What we can do is to help by directing them with safety protocols,” Coyme said.
Normally called to respond to reports of missing fishermen are crewmen at PCG station in Sual, and sub-stations in towns of Bolinao, San Fabian, Infanta, San Manuel (at the San Roque Power Plant), and in the cities of Alaminos and Dagupan.
Coyme identified the usual causes of failure of fishermen to return: absence of weather advisory on local weather disturbance, no monitoring system of fishing bancas sailing out, limited response capability; and no direct link of communication between PCG and fisherfolks association.
These, the PCG commander said, could be addressed through the procurement of weather monitoring equipment (anemometer), requiring fishermen to login/logout at their respective barangays before venturing out at the sea and upon arrival, and organization of localized SAR response fleet composed of PCG and local response units such as motorized boat operators and medium size FVs for limited SAR response.
Oro added that the provincial government has already launched its flagship programs on DRRM — Dunong Kaalaman para sa Kaligtasan (a school-based campaign) and the Ligtas at Aktibong Pamayanan (a community-based campaign) to heighten the awareness of Pangasinenses on DRRM.
The council meeting also concluded the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the provincial government and four partner institutions for disaster response operations that will help, particularly on transportation, and stockpiling of relief goods. (PIO/MGNO)
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