OFFICERS of the Ulupan ng Sumisingay ng Dagupan (Committee of Dagupan Fisherfolks), with representatives from the city’s different barangays, gathered last Friday at the Stadia to express their grievances and seek help from Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez.
“Inaasahan ng kinabukasan ng mangingisda si VM Belen,” said committee president, Ronaldo Cayabyab.
The Dagupan fisherfolks lost their means of income two years ago following the clearing operation of Dagupan rivers initiated by Mayor Benjamin Lim.
As part of the clean up operation, the fish traps were removed to give way to dredges intended to mitigate flood.
“Walang alternatibong kabuhayan na in-offer sa amin nung nagsimula yung paglilinis ng mga ilog,” said Romeo Dizon, one of the Dagupan fisherfolks.
“Simula nung clean up operation, nahirapan na kaming panatilihin yung pangangailangan namin sa araw-araw dahil nga nawala na yung kabuhayang alam namin,” Dizon added.
Fernandez, for he part, presented her plan to give the Dagupan rivers back to the local fishermen.
“Ang mga ilog ay para sa mga taga-Dagupan,” said Fernandez as she vowed to help the fisherfolks look for alternative ways to earn their keep.
“We will look for alternative sustainable livelihood which is aligned to their existing capacity and knowledge. We can also enhance what they already know and innovate and be socially relevant and commercially viable. Hopefully, we can find partners who will be willing to help us in this,” the vice mayor said.