Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mariculture Development Project in Tawi Tawi

SIBUTU, Tawi-Tawi – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will launch here
tomorrow (Thursday) a mariculture development project, a government
livelihood intervention program designed to bail this province out of
poverty.

Tawi-Tawi is the country's poorest province.

The President will lead the capsule-laying ceremony of the Tawi-Tawi
modified mariculture development project at the municipal grounds
here, an anti-poverty project that would directly benefit more than
52,000 coastal dwellers and fisherfolks in the neighboring island
towns of Sibutu and Sitangkai.

She will also award a P2-million check for the scholarship program of
the Institute of Fisheries and Marine resources, as well as distribute
various fishing gears for the 10 fishermen association in the province.

The ceremonial fish-stocking activity at the mariculture will also
feature colorful cultural presentations by local residents on board
the 100 Badjao lepahs (vintas).

Lone District Rep. Nur Jaafar said the project, with an initial
funding of P15 million, is expected to place Tawi-Tawi on the map as
the mariculture capital of the country.

As the "epicenter of the world's largest coral triangle," Tawi-Tawi
boasts of an immense biodiversity and a renowned homegrown talent in
fish farming.

With the project, Jaafar said high-value fishing production is
expected to generate about P200 million in additional revenues for the
province in a year's time.

This tax take is expected to increase by more than double within four
years.

Jaafar said the mariculture project will mean more jobs and livelihood
opportunities for the more than 52,000 coastal dwellers and marginal
fisherfolks who will be trained in scientific and environment-friendly
fish farming techniques by experts from the Department of
Agriculture's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and
the Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and
Oceanology (MSU-TCTO).

In her State-of-the Nation Address (SONA) last year, the President
announced unprecedented investments in the Super Regions, the
country's blueprint towards achieving First World status in 20 years,
including the establishment of a mariculture park in Tawi-Tawi.

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