In Eastern Samar
BORONGAN CITY- Eight local chief executives in Eastern Samar forged an alliance for sea-to-shore protection.
On Feb. 13, the mayors of Dolores, Can-avid, Oras, Arteche, Sulat, Taft, San Julian, and San Policarpo (Do-COASTSS), all from the northern part of the province, formalized their alliance through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed with the support of the army, police, fisheries bureau, and the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) at the ESSU conference hall, ESSU, Borongan City.
They united to protect the remaining fragile coastal and fisheries resources in this part of Eastern Samar and address management issues.
Areas of cooperation of the alliance include crafting of policies and programs, implementation of activities, and sharing of resources.
With the alliance forged, the eight municipalities vowed to pursue organizational development and capacity building, coastal law enforcement, coastal and fisheries resource management, information, education and communication and social marketing and sustainable financing.
In her presentation, Mecelinda Cepe, national team leader for Tukod Project, a nongovernment organization supporting the alliance, shared that the fisherfolks go out fishing for longer hours but they catch less.
She added that they are investing more in fishing operations but earning less.
“They are vulnerable to crisis and shocks. They, too, are marginalized,” Cepe said.
Tukod, which means to “support, buttress or uphold,” is supporting the alliance through INGO Center for International Studies Corp. and the Center for Emergency Aid International Studies with the financial support of the Government of Canada in response to Typhoon Yolanda’s devastating impacts on the Visayas region of the Philippines.
Cepe added that municipal fishing production in the province has decreased by 88 percent since 2014 due to the depletion and degradation of marine and fishery resources, thus the need for the NGO and government intervention.
Can-avid Mayor Gil Norman Germino said he did not shy away from the shared responsibility as his LGU could not do the task alone. He said they really needed everybody on board.
Of the eight local chief executives, six mayors came to personally share their commitment.
Present were Mayor Shonny Carpeso of Dolores, Mayor Norman Gil Germino of Can-avid, Mayor Viviane Alvarez of Oras, Mayor Thelma Nicart of San Policarpo, Mayor Virginia Zacate of Sulat and Mayor Dennis Estaron of San Julian.
Mayor Alvarez, the convenor, with Germino jested that the MOA they signed “signifies lifetime commitment” much like in marriage.
“We need the extraordinary work of ordinary people,” Alvarez said.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) provincial fishery officer Nelia Tomayao witnessed the MOA signing and vowed her 100% support.
After the MOA signing, with their alliance formed, the eight-member team will soon be meeting again to synchronize their municipal ordinance on marine protection to achieve their dream of preserving and protecting the coastal resources that provide their people with livelihood. (NBQ/PIA 8-E Samar)