MANILA, Philippines—Petron said Friday it was establishing fish cages in Guimaras to help rebuild the lives of residents affected by last year’s disastrous oil spill.
In a statement, Petron said it had signed a memorandum of agreement with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) for the provision of seed capital for the establishment of a mariculture (marine aquaculture) farm that would initially benefit barangays Igang, Magamay, Pandaraonan and Dolores.
This will involve the establishment of three fish cages—two to be built by Petron and Seafdec—that will be stocked with fingerlings.
Several representatives from each barangay will also receive training on the construction and maintenance of fish cages, stocking of fingerlings, feeding, harvesting and packaging of the fish for shipment, Petron said.
The Philippine Business for Social Progress will facilitate the trainings.
The barangay trainees will then construct the third fish cage, ensuring they have learned well enough to apply theories to actual practice.
Petron Foundation executive director Malu Erni said the trainings would ensure that the mariculture farming program would be sustainable.
“The establishment of this mariculture farm in Guimaras underscores our desire to provide a viable, long-term livelihood assistance that will directly benefit fisherfolk. This will provide a more reliable source of income while preserving the environment,” she said.
The first milkfish harvest is expected to take place between December and January 2008.
Petron said it had also partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to implement a seaweed farming program in the municipality of Sibunag.
The program is seen to benefit 300 fisherfolk at the onset.
To date, 11 Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran Associations have received between P100,000 and P150,000 in seed money for the program, according to Petron.
Petron said it was also spearheading education-related initiatives for the children in Guimaras.
The oil firm recently inaugurated two educational facilities on the island—the Petron School in Nueva Valencia and the Petron Library Hub in Jordan.
Petron has also started work on providing the 17 public high schools in Guimaras access to the Internet.