DESPITE being put on hold in the last four years, the Department of Agriculture (DA) disclosed that it is keen on developing a Marine Breeding and Research Center (MBRC) in Romblon and has already set aside P2 million of its budget for the project.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said finding a location that is "typhoon and pollution-free" was the key factor in pushing through with the project. The MBRC will be in a two-hectare coastal area in Canduyong, Odiongan, Romblon.
The establishment of the MBRC is an offshoot of Republic Act 9460 establishing the MBRC in Odiongan, Romblon which was passed in 2007. The law provides that the DA shall set aside funds for the development of the MBRC.
"This is part of the directives of President Aquino for us to go to the farthest barangay and extend government assistance. We want the people to feel the assistance of the government," Alcala said.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Malcolm Sarmiento said the operation of the MBRC will include research and experimentation as well as breeding, propagation and distribution of spawners, fry and fingerlings.
The project will be supervised by the BFAR in close coordination with the provincial government. Alcala also instructed BFAR to coordinate closely with the provincial government of Romblon to fast track the release of funds.?
"We will also seek the assistance of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center because of their expertise in aqua research and development," Sarmiento said.
Alcala added that under the Master Development Program of the government, a team of experts from the DA will visit the province to assess and look into possible agricultural projects for the residents.
Aside from job generation, the MBRC seeks to improve existing fishery technologies and maximize potentials of the fishing industry.
"We will encourage the culture of a variety of marine species native to Romblon, thereby attracting investments. These combined efforts aim to improve the lives of the local fishers and their families," Gov. Edgardo Firmalo said.
Thursday, 07 April 2011 19:59 Cai U. Ordinario / Reporter