The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to disperse 5 million fingerlings of various noninvasive species in Lake Lanao next month in its bid to increase the food supply of Lanao del Sur.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the operation, which is under the DA’s Balik Sigla sa mga Ilog at Lawa (Basil) Program, is also part of the DA’s initiative to aid farmers and fishermen in the area who were displaced by the ongoing war in Marawi City.
“My directive to Agriculture Undersecretary [for Fisheries] Eduardo B. Gongona is that within two weeks we will be seeding Lake Lanao with about 5 million fingerlings of indigenous and noninvasive fish species. We will be doing this in a town that is secured,” Piñol said in a recent news briefing.
Piñol added they are already coordinating with the Department of National Defense to identify areas that are not affected by the ongoing conflict between government security forces and terrorists.
“While the war is ongoing people do not have food to eat. And what we want to happen is that by the time that peace returns in the area, the people have something catch already,” he said. “If we can do this, then it will be a big impact to our contribution to the rehabilitation of Lanao and Marawi.”
The DA chief also committed to provide about 500 fishing boats to the fisermen of Marawi City in the next three to four months, so that they have something to use by harvest time.
Piñol also said the DA has turned over P10 million to the farmers and fishermen of Marawi City on July 22 under the Survival and Recovery loan program.
The Basil project is the DA’s response to President Duterte’s order to dismantle fish pens in the lake, which deprived small fishermen of space where they can freely fish or put up cages, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said.