Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A perfect Xmas gift for Bulacan fishermen

HAGONOY, Bulacan—A perfect Christmas gift.

That was how fishermen here described the repair of the 80-old lighthouse saying it will benefit fellow fishermen living in communities along the coast of Manila Bay.

The lighthouse was repaired on Friday afternoon by member engineers of the Sigla Movement of the Philippines (SMP) less than a month after an ocular inspection on November 24.

Located at the coast of Barangay Pugad here, the lighthouse has lost its light more than seven years ago when its solar powered batteries expired.

Barangay Pugad is one of the two coastal villages of their town, and both are at least one hour ride from the Hagonoy town proper.

Edgardo Baltazar, the chair of the Samahang Mangigisda ng Pugad said no other gift could perfect for them saying, “ito ang pinakamagandang pamasko sa amin, ang tagal naming hinintay na magkailaw uli yang parola.”

He said that the re-lighting the lighthouse erase their anxiety in resuming their fishing activities at the Manila Bay at night.

“Hindi na kami nangangamba ngayon na sumadsad sa pilapil ng palaisdaan ang bangka namin at masira ang elisi at timon,” Baltazar said referring to submerged fishpond dikes that used to cause damage on their boat’s propeller and rudder when they make miscalculation at night.

The same was echoed by Rogelio Tamayo, the vice chair of the fisherfolk association.

He said that the lighthouse served as guide for generations of fisherfolk here and other coastal villages of Bulacan and Pampanga.

Both Baltazar and Tamayo started fishing in their teens and are still pursuing the same until now.

Village councilmen Alfredo Lunes, Bernard Dave Concepcion and Gilbert Tamayo said that they sought help for the repair of lighthouse for years.

“Marami na kaming opisyal na nilapitan pero hindi rin natupad ang pangako,” Lunes said referring to moves made by the Sangguniang Barangay of Pugad.

But things started to change after Concepcion posted a picture of the lighthouse on Facebook.com on January 2011, and caught the attention of this writer.

The story and picture of the unrepaired lighthouse was published by the STAR in February 2011 and local officials began to take notice of the situation.

Governor Wilhlemino Alvarado submitted a request to the Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC) on June 30, 2011 asking endorsement for the repair of the lighthouse.

It was unanimously approved months later in an RDC meeting in Malolos and a resolution was submitted in Malacanang.

SMP Chair Dax Uy (L), MCDC chairman elect Rezzy Tanjuan-Totlentino (R)
Last November 24, the Sigla Movement of the Philippines led by Grossman Dax Uy conducted an ocular inspection on the lighthouse and vowed to lead its repair.

In an earlier interview Uy cited the importance of the lighthouse to small fishermen.

As a businessman involved in trading solar panels and other electronic equipment, he said that repairing the lighthouse is a simple gift to fishermen. (Dino Balabo)