LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Nov. 9 (PNA)– The province of Pangasinan won another national award, this time from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that conferred the province the “Gawad Pasasalamat sa mga Kabalikat sa Pangisdaan” 2015 for its significant contribution to fishery development, protection and conservation.
In giving the award, the BFAR noted that Pangasinan actively and successfully implemented its coastal resources management projects, specifically on coastal resources education (CRE).
Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. received the award on behalf of the province from BFAR-Region 1 Director Nestor Domenden during the flag-raising ceremony at the Capitol Grounds on November 9.
The governor expressed its gratitude to all Pangasinenses who showed concern by embracing the program and internalizing it, as well.
The governor recounted how his administration wrestled with some groups who showed disapproval on the massive cleaning and clearing of the province’s river system.
“You have seen perhaps how I was attacked when I launched this project, almost nobody supported me because election that time was coming. They said the livelihood of the people will be affected
Gov. Espino said that after years of hard work, determination, and strong political will, people started to open their eyes and realized the positive things about the once ‘unpopular’ project.
The provincial government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist headed by its officer-in-charge Dalisay Moya, launched the CRE in 2008 to bring about sustainable fishery development in coastal areas of Pangasinan.
Technical team from OPAG conducted outreach activities in various public elementary and secondary schools in coastal local government units (LGUs) using videos and other materials.
The activity, Moya noted, aimed to inculcate into the minds of the youth the importance and significance of conserving and protecting the environment.
Moya reported that from 2008 to September 2015, the OPAG team was able to reach 92 public schools, benefitting around 9,265 students.
The CRE involves optimum utilization of the Provincial Mangrove Information Center located in Arnedo, Bolinao which serves as learning ground on integrated resources management for Lakbay Aral groups from different sectors.
A total of 14,872 visitors (both local and foreign) have visited the mangrove center which reportedly became one of the most popular sites and favorite learning destination of other provinces, as well.
At the same time, a covenant was executed by the Espino administration among concerned stakeholders including local officials to the institutionalize a special project dubbed ‘Ilog ko Aroen tan Bilayen Ko’ ( My River, I will Love and Make it Live) which involved massive coastal cleaning along Lingayen Gulf and mangrove tree planting along coastal areas and riverbanks.
Special projects on tree planting in denuded mountains and continual environmental advocacy were also held in rural communities and schools throughout the province.
The “Ilog Ko, Aroen Tan Bilayen Ko” program of the province which is one of its flagship programs on environment is anchored on preserving the natural beauty of river systems in the province, maximizing it as a sustainable source of livelihood to marginalized fishermen and also as long term flood mitigation.
0f 579,665 of seedlings has already been distributed by the province for various groups since July 2007 to June 2015.
In 2014 alone, about 70,922 mangrove seedlings were propagated and 38,700 seedlings were planted covering an area of more than five hectares.
To complement the mangrove rehabilitation program, over five million fingerlings were dispersed on the province’s communal rivers and water tributaries for the project. (PNA)