Tuesday Nov, 19 2019 09:28:15 AM

Govt lending program changes lives of people in fishing village

AGRICULTURE • 14:26 PM Fri Dec 28, 2018
Manny Piñol

KARIHATAG, MALIMOMO, Surigao del Norte - The government's Easy Access Lending Program (EALP) is changing the lives of poor people in the countryside.In the remote fishing village of Karihatag, the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program of the Department of Agriculture has allowed poor fishermen to buy new fishing boats.Since the program allows them to choose the equipment that they need, the fishermen were able to buy sturdier and better boat engines.The sleek wooden boats are so powerful that some of them fish for Tuna in as far north as Camiguin Island and even the seas off the coast of Antique.I accepted the request of Karihatag fishermen to visit their village yesterday after the main activity in Malimono town proper.It was a one-hour trip through treacherous roads carved by the side of cliffs but it was a trip I did not regret.Arriving in Karihatag, I saw about 200 fishing boats, 50 of which were newly purchased through the PLEA loans.In a caucus, fishermen testified that they now feel that government really cares for them adding that for the first time in their lives, they were visited by a ranking government official.They were all the more ecstatic when I announced that by early next year, their village will have its first Ice-making Equipment and a truck to haul their catch to the market.These are all part of another loaning program by the DA Agricultural Credit Policy Council which allows farmers and fishermen to borrow at 2% interest per year to buy machinery and equipment to improve their production.I also promised them that I will work for the inclusion of their road in the World Bank funded Philippine Rural Development Program.At the end of the visit, I took a 7-hour trip to Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur tired but happy with the thought that by travelling extra kilometers to the edge of nowhere, government touched the lives of poor people.

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