Zambales fisherfolk seek aid amid 'sigwada'

Zambales fisherfolk seek aid amid ‘sigwada’

Zambales fisherfolk seek aid amid ‘sigwada’

In this coastal village of Calapandayan in Subic town, Zambales province, many fishermen have to reduce, if not halt, their fishing activities because of huge waves and strong winds during the monsoon season, locally known as “sigwada.” | PHOTO: Joanna Rose Aglibot

SAN ANTONIO, Zambales — Some small-scale fishermen in this province are demanding preemptive measures from the national government amid the approaching southwest monsoon (habagat) that will impede their fishing activities.

In a statement on Friday, Joey Marabe, provincial coordinator of the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, said the government must mobilize its calamity assistance and emergency funds to assist coastal families who will be affected by the monsoon, commonly known in coastal areas as “sigwada.”


During the sigwada, many fishermen have to reduce, if not halt, their fishing activities because of huge waves and strong winds.


“It is already considered fortunate if fishermen [could] fish a few times a week. This means prolonged hunger among our families along the coast,” said Marabe.

More than 27,000 registered fishermen across this province are already bracing for this recurring seasonal loss that could last until September.

“Thus, we demand that the government make use of a portion of the P31 billion Calamity Fund, while the Department of Agriculture (DA) can utilize the P1 billion Quick Response Fund (QRF) allocated to regions to provide rural sectors with pre-disaster financial assistance and other forms of economic aid,” Marabe said.

Pamalakaya said the fishing sector “suffered from hunger and poverty” in the previous years because of the government’s ‘failure’ to provide livelihood support and sufficient relief.

“Natural disasters are worsened by the government’s poor disaster preparedness, lack of substantial response, and climate change mitigation program. This makes the government criminally liable for negligence and incompetence to concretely act in these trying times,” Marabe said.

The fisherfolk group said that aside from this province, some coastal communities in Manila Bay have started to endure the approaching sigwada in the last weeks of May.


“In the province of Cavite, there have been reports of houses damaged due to the simultaneous impact of Typhoon Aghon and the storm surge in the last week of May. A few fishermen have also started looking for alternative sources of livelihood during times when going out to sea is difficult,” Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya, national vice chairperson, said in a statement.

Pamalakaya said it is conducting a nationwide campaign for concrete economic aid and livelihood support.

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The campaign aims to mobilize affected fishermen nationwide and urge the national government to effectively address the situation.

TAGS: fisherfolk, Zambales

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