Negros Small Fishers Hold 4th Provincial Congress

As a significant milestone in its continuing quest for social justice, sustainable fisheries and sectoral empowerment, the Negros Occidental Small Fishers Alliance (NOSFA) will hold today, Sept. 29, 2017 its Fourth (4th) Provincial Congress at the Pavillon Hotel, Bredco, Bacolod City.

NOSFA aims to serve as the provincial leadership center of the small fishers and fish workers in Negros, and as of press time, it had built a presence in 15 of the province’s coastal towns and cities, spread in around 100 peoples’ organizations. Its civil society partner is the Negros Office of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the oldest primary NGO in the country.

Invited to the NOSFA 4th Congress’ morning program were Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Cong. Juliet Ferrer and Gov. Alfredo Marañon. In the afternoon, regional or provincial directors of various national government agencies like the BFAR, DSWD, DOLE and the DENR will present their updated programs and services for the small fishers and other basic sectors. BFAR will help co-sponsor the NOSFA event.

The 4th NOSFA Congress will approve its general program of action (GPOA) and elect its new officers and members of its leadership council. Around 200 small fisher leaders, civil society and government representatives are expected to attend the congress.

Eduardo Villanueva, chair of the NOSFA Preparatory Committee, said their 4th congress is a witness to the emerging capacity of the small fishers sector to secure and promote their rights and interests. “The small fishers continue to suffer from mass poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation, and we hope this gathering will help address their plight and relevant issues. For without them, there will be more hunger and food insecurity in Negros and the country.”

Nay Lucy Diaros, chairperson of the Chambery Small Multisectoral People’s Alliance (CHAMPA) and having the distinction of being the lone female Bantay-Dagat or coastal sentinel in the province, said the holding of the 4th NOSFA congress continues to remind them to persist in their struggle for sustainable fisheries, coastal resource management and the resilience of coastal communities from climate changes. “While the small fishers continue to campaign against illegal fishing, there is no question that when climate-related calamities come, they are the first ones to be greatly affected.”*(Hazel Aghon, PRRM-Negros/NOSFA Secretarait)