With at least 20 typhoons expected to hit the Philippines this year, Senator Chiz Escudero called on government agencies to design a comprehensive plan that will address both disaster risk management and alternative livelihood for affected fisherfolk .
According to Escudero, typhoon warnings do little to discourage fisherfolk from venturing out to the seas despite the danger they are facing due to economic reasons.
“It’s a sad reality that after every storm, we still have in our statistics drowned or missing fishermen. Even if advisories were already released beforehand, some would tend to ignore these and still go out to fish because if they don’t, their families won’t eat,” Escudero pointed out.
To address this, Escudero said, the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should come up with livelihood programs specifically intended for the fishing community – the first to be displaced and affected in times of weather disturbances.
“Government efforts should cover all fronts to really manage and avoid disaster risks. Let’s task each member of the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) to really contribute their worth in ensuring risk reduction and management. As with institutionalizing response, relief and rehabilitation, so must livelihood programs be. No one would be willing to risk his life for food if he has other options,” Escudero said.