Zambales fisherfolk demand that the government prepare for "sigwada"

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Fisherfolk in Zambales fear the possible famine they and their families will experience in the coming months during the sigwada or very strong waves and winds from the end of May to August. They say that this will worsened by the state’s criminal negligence and lack of support for their sector. Sigwada season is caused by the entry of Northeast monsoon or “amihan” in the country.

“Fishing during the sigwada season is life-threatening. Being able to fish for a few times a week is considered fortunate because of the danger brought by strong waves, wind and rain,” Joey Marabe, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (Pamalakaya) coordinator in Zambales, said.

He said they suffered gravely from hunger and poverty last year because of government failure to provide livelihood and support. “As no one wants this disaster, it is criminallly negligent for the government does nothing during the said season,” he said.

They are disappointed as fisherfolks have not benefited from the Department of Agriculture annual ₱1 billion Quick Response Fund.

“We are starting to hold consultations with the fishing communities with the aim of demanding the economic and livelihood support they deserve,” said Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya national second chairman.

He said that the sigwada season is expected to ravage not only Zambales but also other parts of the country. He said fisherfolks should demand the regime for prompt and concrete preparation for the impending disaster.

The sector is among the poorest in the country based on conservative data from the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2021.

AB: Zambales fisherfolk demand that the government prepare for "sigwada"