The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has mobilized its floating assets, including its multi-mission offshore vessel, BRP Lapulapu (MMOV 5001), to conduct relief operations in areas isolated by Super Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).

The first official leg to a series of relief operations, DA-BFAR’s BRP Lapulapu sails to CARAGA Region and later on, Eastern Visayas, to deliver hundreds of sacks of rice, canned and dried goods, and hygiene kits from DA-BFAR’s Regional Offices in Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.

“The DA-BFAR will go all-out in our relief assistance to coastal communities affected by Super Typhoon Odette. More floating assets will be deployed in the coming days including M/V DA-BFAR to carry more relief goods and boat repair materials,” DA-BFAR national director Eduardo Gongona said.

Aside from relief activities, the agency is already rolling out recovery efforts to assist Filipino fisherfolk get back to their livelihoods in the soonest possible time, he added.

An initial hundred units of marine engines and boat-construction materials for washed out and damaged boats were also loaded onboard BRP Lapulapu. DA-BFAR allocated separate supplies for the construction of 5, 000 units of wooden and fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boats for the two regions.

Director Gongona said the agency, based on the directive of DA Secretary William D. Dar, is setting up more interventions for Odette-affected fisherfolk. He said the agency is already on the process of procuring fry and fingerlings which the DA-BFAR will distribute to registered fish farmers in the calamity-stricken areas.

DA-BFAR’s personnel have been deployed on the ground to comprehensively assess the damage and loss to the fisheries sector. As of writing, the estimated total value of damage and losses due to typhoon Odette has already reached Php 1.30 billion. DA-BFAR is also at the receiving end of the typhoon Odette’s brunt with several of its facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao destroyed in its aftermath.