Monday, May 30, 2016

Fishing net secures children's education

Fishing net secures children's education

Every day, parents toil to secure their children's education and future.

In a coastal community in Tanauan, a father leaves his family before dusk to go to the sea to fish; while, his wife repairs their remaining fishing net and attends to their children's needs.

A little after sunrise the next day, he returns to shore to sell his catch of the day. He then returns home to his eager family, bringing with him his hard earned money for the day only to leave again a few hours later to fish again.

This is what every day looks like for Michael Abalos, father of five.

On a good day, he would return from sea with up to 15 kilos of fish, earning barely enough. But, when the waves are strong and the weather is not fine, he refrains from going to sea making it hard for Michael to earn for a living.

Fishing is what he knows best, but he admits he was afraid to return to sea after Typhoon Haiyan washed away their home, fishing nets and fishing gears, leaving his family homeless and him without a livelihood.

“But I had to be brave. I had to go back to the sea after the storm. Fishing is the only livelihood I know,” Michael, 34, shares.

Months after Haiyan, he went back to fishing, trying to recover what he lost.

Because he lost his own fishing net during the typhoon, he went fishing with a relative who still had nets to use. Their income from each catch sold at Php120 per kilo, but 
they had to subtract the expenses then divide the remaining amount among themselves, leaving him with barely enough for his family.

With his two kids already in elementary school, those were very hard times for his family.

So when Michael received his own fishing net through the grant given by the government of Japan through Asian Development Bank’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to the Philippine government in January 2016, he knew that these were exactly what he needed.

“The fishing nets are very helpful. Without them, I would still go fishing with others as a hired hand on their trips,” he shares.

And a few months since then, Michael has begun to recover what he lost. His income increased.

“Now that I have my own fishing nets, I don't have to share my earnings with anyone. I earn more for my family,” he continues.

Fisherfolks come and sell their catch along the shoreline of Bislig, Tanauan.

Aware that a fishing net only lasts for a couple of months, his wife Winifreda, 32, has begun weaving a new one.

"Using the savings from having our own fishing net, we bought materials for a new one. Little by little, I am weaving one so by the time our current fishing net needs to be replaced, we have one ready," she continues.

Fishing nets are invaluable for fisher folks like Michael and Winifreda. “Without fishing gears and nets, our livelihoods will be disrupted again.”

Through the grant, Michael and the other fisher folks from his community also received basic Coastal Resources Management training facilitated by the Municipal Agriculturist Office 
of Tanauan in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The training aimed to teach fisher folks how to better protect coastal resources while securing sustainable livelihood.

Only able to reach high school, Michael wishes for his children to finish theirs. “Because of the support we received, my wife and I are able to provide for our family’s needs and are able to send our children to school. I want them to finish their education,” he shares.

Through the fishing nets, he did not only recover what was lost--his livelihood--but more importantly, he gained so much more. He secured his children's education.

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