CEBU CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has launched “Ahon” (Rise), an initiative to distribute at least 10,000 boats to 20,000 municipal fisherfolk in the Visayas and Bicol regions, covering at least a tenth up to a fifth of those affected by super typhoon “Yolanda”.

BFAR 7 Director Asis Perez said the bureau was building the initial 3,000 boats, and more than half will be distributed in Eastern Visayas, which bore the brunt of the super typhoon when it bore down on Nov. 8.

He urged the private sector to help achieve the goal in three months, either by donating materials or by building the boats. The BFAR, as a government agency, could not accept cash donations, he explained.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Lito Maderazo said the business community will help BFAR’s initiative, called “Ahon”. He said some suppliers and manufacturers of construction materials have vowed not to increase prices to help Yolanda survivors rebuild houses and return to their means of livelihood.

Non-government organization Sea Knights and the Sto. Nino de Cebu Agustinian Social Development Foundation Inc. identified the islet of Kinatarcan in Bantayan, Cebu as its pilot area for livelihood and rehabilitation efforts.

The two groups will help the fishermen of Kinatarcan repair their boats.

Perez said 10,000 is a small number compared to the more than 146,700 municipal fisherfolk in Regions 6, 7, 8 and 4B affected by “Yolanda”.

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