by Anna Mikhaela A. Bañaga and Lurena V. Bandong
“Magandang programa ang Linis Ilog, pero parang hindi kami satisfied. Dapat pag-isipan talaga kung anong mas makakaganda,” said Ronaldo Oñate, chair of Barangay Tuntungin-Putho, of the construction of tilapia pond in his village.
Oñate spearheaded the construction of a fish pond for tilapia in the part of the river that runs along Purok 1 in his barangay. This, after plans were developed for a new livelihood program that would maximize the use of the river and at the same time benefit the citizens living near the area.
In cooperation with the barangay councilors, the planning of the construction of the fish pond only took less than two months before it was started. But, the project was delayed from their expected end date as several emergencies like the fire in Purok 6 and other accidents happened that needed the attention of the council first.
Oñate said that he will be personally funding the starting materials needed for the fish pond like the fingerlings, the fish nets, and feeds. As he believes that someone should initiate an action to encourage people to follow.
“Bukod sa para ito sa kalinisan at pangkalikasan, kasama na dito ang food security (ng mga beneficiaries), Oñate added.
He also said that using the river as a site for tilapia production would encourage the people to take care of the river more as it will also be their source of food and additional income.
“Malinis kasi talaga ‘tong ilog. Kaya no’ng nag-suggest siya (barangay captain) na lagyan ng isda ito, pabor naman kami do’n. Kasi syempre, para sa amin naman ‘yon eh,” said Archie Comendador, a resident living near the river.
Residents also testified that the river used to have tilapias before. Janitor fish invasion caused the halt to the growth of tilapias as it feeds on the fingerlings of tilapia. They also said that the river still currently has a few catfish (hito) and snakehead murrel (dalag).
Almost 40 families living at the side of the river will be the caretakers and beneficiaries of the said livelihood program. Oñate said that the only task of the residents living near the area is to keep the river clean, feed and take care of the tilapia, and do the harvesting. He further added that it will be the barangay council’s task to market and sell the tilapias that will be harvested by the residents.
“Ang hinihingi ko lang ngayon, tulúngan lang. Kasi ako, wala naman akong experience sa pag-aalaga ng isda eh,” Oñate requested.
The barangay’s goal now is to finish barricading and lessening the depth of the river upto knee-length for easier management and for the safety of the children living near the area. They also plan to put fish nets in the tilapia pond so that it would be easier for them to pull up the fish in case strong rains would come. Before the end of the month, they are set to release tilapia fingerlings already as long as no emergency would happen again that would disrupt the council’s schedule.
Oñate targets to implement the same livelihood program in other possible areas in the barangay as he sees it as a productive project. In line with this, the barangay council of Tuntungin-Putho also aims to promote the tourism of their barangay all through the help of their livelihood programs and other projects.
Should you have other questions and inquiries about Tuntungin-Putho’s new livelihood program and other projects, reach their Barangay Council through the following: