DA-BFAR 9 and RARE Philippines have collaborated to empower Sibugaynon fisherfolk leaders. The two-day activity, titled “Towards Strengthening MFARMC Leadership in Zamboanga Sibugay,” was conducted on January 30-31, 2024, for the second batch of Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (MFARMCs) representatives.

The event aimed to boost the efficacy of MFARMCs across the 13 Local Government Units (LGUs) in Zamboanga Sibugay, specifically by establishing functional MFARMCs capable of making data-driven decisions for the sustainable development of fisheries in municipal waters. Various participants attended the activity, including fisherfolk representatives from different People’s Organizations, SB Committee Chairpersons on Agri-Fisheries, Municipal Agriculture Officers (MAOs), Municipal Planning and Development Officers (MPDOs), and Fishery Technicians (FTs) from the municipalities of Naga, Siay, Kabasalan, and Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The activity focused on informative sessions on the orientation, elections, and strengthening of MFARMCs. The discussions highlighted the pivotal role of fisherfolk and other resource users in the community-based planning and implementation of policies and programs. This approach aimed to empower them for meaningful participation in the sustainable management, conservation, and protection of fisheries and aquatic resources within their municipal waters.

Mr. Edgar Apao, Municipal Agriculture Officer of Ipil, shared the best practices and accomplishments of Ipil MFARMC, motivating other MFARMCs in the province to aspire to a similar status.

Additionally, Atty. Christopher M. Ignacio, BFAR 9 Legal Officer, introduced the Fisherfolk Legal Assistance Desk, providing valuable insights and legal access for the fisherfolk stakeholders. The activity’s inclusive goal was to define the role, functions, and benefits of an MFARMC member as a fisher leader, articulate leadership qualities, identify strategies in MFARMC formation, and allow participants to practice decision-making skills. Through collaboration and knowledge-sharing, this initiative seeks to pave the way for more effective management of fisheries resources, ensuring sustainable development of Zamboanga Sibugay’s municipal waters.

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