TACLOBAN CITY- A five-storey building that will serve as the regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 8 is expected to rise in July next year, about 15 months from now or 450 calendar days.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the office building was held on May 29 at Barangay Diit, Tacloban City, the previous site of the office building which was heavily damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
In his message, Dr. Juan Albaladejo, BFAR regional director said, “With five years in the making, our dream of having a climate resilient and environment-friendly office building has finally become a reality. With our Typhoon Yolanda experience, we designed our building to become storm surge-proof, safe and with state-of-the-art design.”
“We want to get back to Barangay Diit because this is our original home and we want to build our dreams and hopes here, aside from being close to the sea,” he said.
He added that the five-storey building has a floor area of 5,000 square meters at 1,000 square meters per floor while the laboratory section will be located at the 5th floor and other facilities at the upper floors, making them safe from floods and other calamities.
It was learned that BFAR-8 was given a total budget of P260 million in February 2014 from the government’s savings intended for the Yolanda rehabilitation projects.
“Of the total budget, P189 million is allotted for the office building construction and the remaining amount is for the rehabilitation of BFAR facilities like the surveillance and monitoring building and other facilities in Guiuan,” Albaladejo said.
The BFAR official also disclosed that its office has a lot of equipment donated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that are temporarily housed in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Some of these equipment will be transferred to Tacloban upon completion of the building.
Director Albaladejo also bared that his office will be engaging more projects with JICA like tooling and post-harvest facilities, to cater to the needs of mariculture.
A breathing area will also be provided for the safekeeping of the boats used in law enforcement, in times of inclement weather.
Meanwhile, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) Officer-in-Charge for Technical Services Department, Danilo Axalan said the project, which is a joint venture of PFDA and BFAR, was bidded out in 2018 but was only awarded February this year for some technical reasons.
The contractors for the project, according to Axalan, are the Penacle and Pacific Summit, same contractors awarded for the construction of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), who are expected to deliver the project efficiently, effectively and within the given timeline.
“Our office, the PFDA and BFAR will jointly supervise and monitor the implementation of the project as we are partners in fisheries management. In this collaboration, BFAR takes charge of the marine resources to include inland waters such as fishponds, while PFDA provides the needed facilities like the fishing docks for the fishing vessels, market halls, among others, to ensure good quality of fishery products,” Axalan said.
The groundbreaking rite was led by the BFAR Director and Assistant Director themselves, with the presence of PFDA and NEDA officials, and a representative from the Pacific Summit. (LDL/GTT/PIA-8, Leyte)