To help revive the livelihood of fisherfolks and their families whose boats were damaged by Typhoon Yolanda, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) supported them to repair boats or provided them with new ones through the AHON project, a unified effort of national and local governments, non-government organizations and the private sector.

According to the December 5, 2015 report of BFAR, a total of 21,420 families in Eastern Visayas whose fishing boats were damaged in the typhoon received materials for repair. In addition, a total 1,087 fiberglass boats were awarded to fisherfolks in Eastern Visayas as  replacements for totally damaged or lost boats; total target is 5,750 fiberglass boats for the region.

Just last December 1, 2015, the Provinicial Fisheries Office of the Province of Eastern Samar spearheaded a ceremony where 100 fiberglass fishing boats were distributed to Yolanda survivors at the public market in the municipality of Lawaan, Eastern Samar. During the ceremony, BFAR Region 8 Director Jaime Albaladejo said that the fiberglass boats, dubbed as bangkang pinoy, were given to beneficiaries complete with gears, including a 5.5 HP engine, propeller blade, stainless shaft, rudder, brass tube, cross joint, and nylon. Director Albaladejo stressed that the distribution of boats went through BFAR’s verification system that is being implemented by BFAR technicians in coordination with the Municipal Agriculture Office.

AHON started two years ago as a campaign of BFAR calling for immediate donations from all sectors to repair and replace damaged and lost boats of fisher families in various areas in central Philippines which were heavily damaged by Typhoon Yolanda. The intention was to immediately rehabilitate partially damaged boats or those with keels intact, so that fishing communities could revive their basic livelihood and rebuild their lives in the process.

Between 2013 and 2014, beneficiaries received materials from AHON which they used to repair their boats. These included marine plywood, copper nails, marine epoxy, and paint. The overwhelming response to the initial call of AHON prompted for a second phase of the project, mainly through the provision of fiberglass boats.

BFAR has targeted to provided 54,825 units of repaired and new boats to affected fishing communities in Eastern, Central and Western Visayas and Northern Palawan regions that are still recovering from extensive damages of Typhoon Yolanda. Of the total target, 48,171 boats (89.4 percent) have been distributed to all the affected regions. With repaired and new boats, fishing communities whose main livelihoods were disrupted by Typhoon Yolanda are once more enjoying the bounty of the sea.