The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This old adage holds true for the first batch of the Fishermen Scientist Training Program (FishSTP) in Oslob town, southern Cebu, as they witnessed their labor bear fruit during the Harvest Day of the Capitol’s aqua-culture project on Monday, Nov. 12.
With their experimental offshore cage farm yielded at least 800 kilos of assorted fishes, such as bangus, danggit and kitong, members of the Oslob Fishermen Association cemented their tenacity to bound together and keep the program going.
“Permiro nagduhaduha ko kay i-training paka unya posible na maguba kung naay bagyo ang puy-anan sa isda. Apan gi-challenge nako akong kaugalingon ug mga membro nga mopadayon,” said Luciano Rollon, president of the association.
Three months after undergoing study and field demonstration, raising fish through a science-based program spelled the difference as it saw a huge fish haul.
“Karon nakita namo nga lahi ra gyud kong sakto imong pamaagi pagbuhi sa isda,” said Rollon, whose members came from the seven barangays of Pungtod, Daang Lungsod, Manlum, Bongcogon, Gawi and Lagunde.
Gov. Hilario P. Davide III graced the harvest day and told the fishermen that the Cebu Provincial Government and Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale, through the Provincial Agriculture Office, would continue to provide support to their needs.
“Nag tinguha kami sa Probinsya nga matagaan kamo og panginabuhi-an nga mas molahutay ug malungtaron sama sa pagpamuhi og isda. Basta kalihokan sa mga mangingisda, mag-uuma ug mga kabus na sektor, andam gayud mopaluyo ang Probinsya kaninyo,” Davide said.
The event was also graced by municipal and barangay officials led by Oslob Mayor Jose Tumulak Jr. and Alegria Mayor Verna Magallon, as well as provincial agriculturist Roldan Saragena.
“Nakita nato karon ang sangputanan sa atong kahago nga dako diay tag mahimo kung maghugpong, magtinabangay ug maningkamot kita uban sa ayuda gikan sa Probinsya,” Tumulak said.
During the ceremony, Davide also distributed a 16-footer motorboat to the fish wardens of Alegria, Catmon, Sibonga, Carmen, Bantayan, Oslob and Talisay City.
An offshoot of the successful Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP), the FishSTP aims to provide fishermen a more sustainable means of livelihood rather than taking chances in trawling the sea.
It is a brainchild project of Filipino scientist Dr. Romulo Davide, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, who is Capitol consultant for agriculture with P1 salary a year.
Earlier, Magpale said that under their administration with Davide, projects that largely affect the lives of the poor are given priority by the Capitol.
The program was launched in Barangay Taloot, Argao last year and it was expanded to the towns of Oslob, Moalboal and Medellin.
According to Saragena, 12 more towns have requested his office to let their fishermen undergo the FishSTP training.
The program primarily centers on mariculture particularly in cage fishing and seaweeds farming through a science-based technique.
The scope of the program’s Phase I includes research exposure, values formation and technical empowerment.
This involves the introduction to studies on scientific methods of culturing fish and seaweeds, as well as conducting experiments to test different kinds of feeds, stocking density, and planting distance of seaweeds.
In Phase II, the fishermen will be taught on how to use mariculture technologies together with members of their respective associations. They will observe the survival rate, growth rate, yield, area and economic efficiency of the cultured commodities and choose which one to cultivate.
Those who can make it to Phase III will then undergo a two-day refresher course on various topics taken up in Phase I to qualify as teachers for FishSTP.
Aside from livelihood programs, the administration of Davide and Magpale gave importance to the upgrading of provincial and district hospitals, construction of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water supply projects, medical missions, among others.
The upgrading of facilities in provincial hospitals paved the way for conducting cataract, knee replacement and laparoscopy surgeries. The Cebu Provincial Hospital (CPH) in Carcar has intensive care units, while the same facilities are underway in CPH-Balamban.
The Capitol also helped the P95-million water system in Alegria town, with at least 3,187 households as beneficiaries.
Earlier, the Capitol spent P106 million for the construction and repair of classrooms all over the province. It also expanded the Paglaum scholarship program, farmers and fishermen insurance coverage, the Farmers and Fishermen Scientists Training Program and the livelihood projects for women.