Ms. Roseminda B. Calipes, a fisherfolk lady from Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay was elected as Zamboanga Peninsula’s Regional Fisherfolk Director (RFD) for CY 2023, in a meeting last February 2, 2023, at Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. The same event also saw the selection of a Provincial Fisherfolk Representative (PFR) for Zamboanga del Sur in the person of Mr. Manie Husin from the municipality of Dimataling.

The selection of the PFR for Zamboanga del Sur completed the full line-up of PFRs from provinces and cities of Region 9. Meanwhile, Mr. Efren Mellida, CY 2013 FRD, also a native of Sibugay, was elected as the official Nominee of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region for the CY 2023 National Fisherfolk Director (NFD). The election of CY 2023 NFD and the oath-taking of RFDs will be conducted in Manila sometime in March 2023. At the regional level, newly-elected RFD Calipes will be installed on May 1, 2023.

The event was conducted pursuant to Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Order No. 88 series of 2005, otherwise known as the Fisherfolk Directors’ Program for a more strengthened partnership in Fisheries Management, themed as “Mangingisdang Director Para sa mas Matatag na Balikatan”. Aimed at popularizing the empowerment and meaningful participation of fisherfolk as government partners in fisheries management, conservation, and development, fisherfolk leaders select from among themselves a Regional Fisherfolk Director who will serve as the direct link and voice of fisherfolk and the government. This is to ensure the fisherfolk sector’s broadest and most meaningful participation in the implementation of the fisheries programs and projects of the government. To dramatize this rule, the RFD will sit as such for the whole month of May.

The important occasion was facilitated by the DA- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources IX (DA-BFAR IX), spearheaded by Ms. Liliosa R. Paredes, OIC Chief-RFTFCD/FAS; together with Mr. Lenjelben Castro, Regional Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC)/Fisherfolk Coordinator, Provincial FARMC/Fisherfolk Coordinators, and BFAR IX staff.