Empowering Kabasalan fisherfolks through partnerships
In Kabasalan, the long-coveted treasure chest can just be found in the mangrove sanctuary.
Situated in the Sibuguey Bay in Western Mindanao, the 4th class municipality is teeming with marine resources, thanks to the valiant efforts of the community in clearing the area of illegal fishing activities and planting hectares of mangroves in the coastal areas.
At the center of this concerted effort is community leader and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Roberto Ballon. Ka Dodoy, as he is fondly called, heads the Kapunongan sa mga Gagmay'ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion or KGMC.
Ballon and the fisherfolks of Kabasalan are looking to expand the conservation efforts in the coastal communities while ensuring that fisherfolks’ lives will improve through partnerships and innovation.
Complementing efforts for wider reach
In a meeting held in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay on June 17, 2022, representatives from KGMC, Coalition of Municipal Fisherfolks Association of Zamboanga Sibugay (COMFAZS), RARE Philippines, Xavier Agriculture Extension Service Foundation Inc. (XAESFI), Save Marine & Aquatic Resources Thru Teamwork - Sibuguey Bay Development Alliance (SMARTT-SBDA) and Peace and Equity Foundation shared their programs and plans for the development of coastal communities in the province.
XAEFI, represented by its Executive Director and PEF board member Nestor Carbonera, presented their coastal area maintenance and sustenance programs while RARE Philippines Program Manager Japy Silapan showed their initiatives such as mapping of marine reserves, gathering data for decision-making and branding the fisheries campaign of the community.
SMARTT-SBDA’s Felix Badon, Ipil's municipal environment officer, meanwhile shared the local government's efforts in establishing marine protected areas and joint seaborne patrols with the community.
For his part, Ballon presented the empowerment and environmental activities of the KGMC and COMFAZS, including partnership initiatives with other organizations and government agencies, such as the Mindanao Development Authority and the Office of the Vice President.
“We have replicated our best practices and innovation such as planting of mangroves, people empowerment, and enterprise development from our KGMC model to other municipalities in the province. Some of these really worked for them,” he said.
In his message, Chair Senen Bacani highlighted collaboration as a strategy to build lasting impact in the coastal communities.
“Over 20 years, we in PEF have recognized the importance of working with partners so we can maximize outputs and outcomes in our collective efforts,” PEF Chair Senen Bacani said.
With the partnership underway, the fisherfolks of Kabasalan can further enjoy the benefits of the sea, which they have been taking care of for many decades.