PATAO, BANTAYAN, CEBU — March 25, 2017 was a momentous day for the members of the Patao Drivers, Farmers, and Fishermen Association (PADFFA) for it was the day they launched the first ever community radio in the province of Cebu.
Amidst the sweltering heat, the radio program, Agos sa Katilingban (Flow of Society), was successfully launched. Fisherfolks Freddie Valendez and Geralyn Golisao were the guests in the morning segment that tackled the issue of the Joint Memorandum Circular 2014-01 or the No Build Zone Policy which prohibits the construction of any establishment within 40 metres from the shore. The memorandum was pushed forth and implemented after Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) hit the country which left massive destruction and thousands of deaths in its wake.
The fisherfolks registered that they don’t agree to the memorandum primarily because it would displace them and take them away from their main source of livelihood which is fishing. Freddie and Jera are residents of Panangatan and Mambacayao, respectively, small islands located in Bantayan in which the primary livelihood of the people are fishing, coupled with bits of farming.
Valendez also noted that the exception found in the Memorandum that was biased towards businesses. In it, the construction of establishments are allowed within 40 metres from the shore if the local government deems it to contribute to the local economy. Examples of this are hotels and beach resorts, commercial ports among many others.
Geralyn Golisao on other hand, emphasized the effect of the Memorandum to the women since the women are the ones who run the family and take care of whatever limited budget they have to spend for the needs of the family. She said that the loss of livelihood will force the women to take up extra jobs to help their husbands and therefore spend more time away from family.
The second segment of the podcast happened in the afternoon, tackling the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front and its importance to the farmers and fisherfolks. Dennis Michael Abarientos from the human rights group Karapatan was the guest speaker.
The community radio project originated from Tacloban, Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda devastated the province. It was founded by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) with Kodao Productions as its partner from the national and Central Visayas Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC) as its local partner.
The fisherfolks and farmers of Barangay Patao, Bantayan were all grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of this project and are all eager for its nex airings.
Hosted by Charity Olete and Jenelyn Santillan, the community radio is scheduled to go on air every month.