Residents of the island town of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, an area with a poverty incidence of 80% and also known by its old name "Pitogo," received a windfall of support which they have long dreamed of during a quick visit of the Biyaheng Bukid team of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) on Thursday, May 4.
PCPG Mayor Fernando Estavilla described the estimated P30-M worth of interventions delivered and committed as "dramatic and shocking."
"This is the first time poor people of this town engaged a Cabinet Secretary in a face-to-face consultation and also the first they have witnessed the immediate delivery of interventions," said the Mayor who admitted that 80% of the households live below the poverty threshold.
A total of 171 FB Pagbabago fiberglass fishing boats were distributed to 324 fisher folk families with an additional commitment of 129 more units for another 258 families.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) through Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona who joined me in Pitogo yesterday was also directed to establish a small ice-making facility to serve the needs of fishermen in the island.
Also yesterday, I committed that Pitogo will be included in the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) to assist fisher folks in acquiring additional requirements for fishing like ice boxes, ice and fuel for their fishing boats.
Patrol boats to guard Pitogo's rich fishing grounds from poachers and illegal fishing were also committed to the fishermen's group in the area.
During the open forum, other concerns of farmers were also addressed like planting materials for the island's inland farms and farming equipment for the small rice farming area of the 6,500-hectare island.
DAF Regional Director Salvador Diputado committed to deliver the commitments in two months to finally end the long wait of the residents of Pitogo for government help.
It was agreed yesterday that after a period of two years, the DAF and the local government unit of Pitogo will conduct a review to determine whether the interventions delivered by the administration of President Rody Duterte have reduced the poverty incidence in the island town