A fisherman sails into renewed hope

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The fisherfolk are one of the hard hit sectors since the pandemic began. Batangas resident Silverio Briva Ayo, a fisherman and a father of four, has personally experienced this setback in his livelihood.

Ang buhay po ng mangingisda, kapag may huli, may panggastos. ‘Pag walang huli, walang pang-gastos,” Ayo said in a pre-recorded interview aired on Monday’s Sampung Libong Pag-asa program which was live-streamed on former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s Facebook page.

(The life of a fisherman is a cycle — if you catch enough fish, you have money to sustain the family’s needs. If you don’t, then you get the opposite.)

Ang aming pangisdaan, marami po kaming kalaban y’ung mga commercial fishing. Sila po y’ung nakakaapekto sa aming maliliit na mangingisda,” he added, expressing how difficult it was to compete with bigger companies.

(We small fishermen have to compete with bigger commercial fishing companies. The competition really affects our chances of catching more fish.)

After receiving P10,000 financial support from the “Sampung Libong Pag-asa” program on July 18, 2021, Ayo used P5,000 to restock their family’s small store while the rest was allotted for his fishing equipment.

Napakalaking tulong sa aking pamilya [ng ayudang ito] dahil kahit papaano y’ung aking tindahan, nadagdagan ng laman. Y’ung aking hanapbuhay sa pangingisda, na-ipagpatuloy ko dahil sa tulong na natanggap ko,” he said, expressing his gratitude towards the program.

(This is a big help for me and my family because we were able to restock our small store, as well as sustain my livelihood as a fisherman.)

Ayo’s story was featured in the latest edition of Sampung Libong Pag-asa aired on November 8, 2021, in which former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso focused on giving financial aid to tourism workers in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, and La Union.

Napakahalaga ng [tourism] dahil sa every 2 or 3 people na nagiging turista sa ating bansa, nagkakaroon ng trabaho ang isa sa ating kababayang Pilipino,” Cayetano said during a Facebook livestream before the new episode aired.

(Tourism is an important sector because for every 2, even 3 tourists who visit the country, it creates jobs for Filipinos.)

Hindi totoo na walang pera dyan, P500-billion ang idadagdag sa budget next year, so kung ang gobyerno ay ipo-program yan…mabibigyan ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng 10K,” he added, addressing the need for programs that deliver direct stimulus aid to affected sectors such as the fisherfolk, and tourism sector.

(It’s not true that we don’t have the money to fund a direct stimulus program. Remember that the national budget next year is bigger by P500 billion, so if the government programs it properly, every Filipino family can receive P10,000.)

Launched on May 1, 2021, the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program gives P10,000 in financial assistance to select individuals affected by the pandemic. The program is a private initiative wherein funds are received from donors from the private sector.

The program focuses on various affected sectors each week in order to raise awareness to the general public as well as the government regarding a Filipino family’s need for stable financial assistance in the midst of a global health crisis.

The latest episode saw 50 new beneficiaries. As of writing, over 13,200 families have benefited from the said program since its inception, and the number continues to rise.

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