MANILA, Philippines – Fishermen are the poorest sector in the country, with dwindling incomes due to polluted oceans.
Buena Bernal talks to a fisherfolk family in Batangas.
Maricel Gacela relies on the sea for her family’s living.
A single parent with 2 kids, she comes from a family of fishermen in Calatagan, Batangas.
The family never earns enough, always living by the day.
Yung kinikita ng tatay ko noon ay minsan sa loob ng isang araw na pagpalaot niya, kumikita siya ng P800 to P1000 a day. Pero ngayon, yung kinikita ko ay salamat pa na makakita ako ng P250. At talagang hindi siya kakasya sa pang araw-araw na pangangailangan namin, dahil pumapasok na yung dalawa kong anak. (My father used to earn in a day he goes fishing around P800 to P1000 a day. But now, with what I earn, I would be grateful to get P250.It really doesn’t suffice, since my two sons are already going to school. )
Data shows the incomes of fishing vessels are on a steady decline since the 1950s.
The volume of catch no longer compensates for the cost of fishing.
Advocate Vince Cinches says the Philippine oceans are in crisis.
GREENPEACE OCEANS CAMPAIGNER
Kung titignan mo lang sa Manila Bay, based on the recent data, 70% of the waste in Manila Bay are plastics. Ang nangyayari diyan ang basura, yung gravity niya, pinapatay niya yung mga major na mga marineecosystems dito sa Manila Bay. Manila Bay actually mirrors what is happening all over the country.So malaki yung… malaking-malaki yung impact niya tsaka yung reach ng pollution tsaka ng garbage sa atin. (If you will look at Manila Bay, based on the recent data, 70% of the waste in Manila Bay are plastics. What happens there – the gravity – it kills major marine ecosystems here in Manila Bay. Manily Bay actually mirrors what is happening all over the country. The impact of pollution and garbage is big.)
Water samples from Manila Bay in 2007 show human waste bacteria and heavy metal particles go beyond the environmental standard.
Maricel is among 2 million Filipino fishermen whose incomes plummeted due to the deteriorating state of the Philippine seas.
Government data says fishermen are the poorest among the 9 basic sectors.
Against the odds, Maricel hopes the next day’s catch will be better.
She talks of dreams and how she doesn’t think they will ever come true.
Siyempre, mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan, mapapag-aral, mapapag-tapos hangang kolehiyo. Pero papaano ko maibibigay sa kanila yun kung ngayon pa lamang ay wala na akong mahuling isda? (Of course, to give them a good future, to send them to school for them to finish college. But how can I give that to them if I can’t catch any fish?)
Buena Bernal, Rappler, Calatagan, Batangas.