The Department of Labor and Employment in Region 7 has released more than half a million pesos as livelihood assistance for victims of “Paaling”.
Paaling is an illegal fishing activity that was uncovered and resulted in the filing of several criminal cases against the so-called “maestro” or “pescador,” who is based in Ayungon, Negros Oriental.
This was disclosed by Marlene Pepino of the Visayan Forum after a meeting at the provincial Capitol recently in preparation for the distribution of livelihood assistance to 34 Paaling victims from barangays Inacban, Candanaay and Manogtong, all of Ayungon.
Initial consultations showed that of the 34, more than 22 wanted to own carabaos, because many of them were farmers before they went into paaling fishing. Some of them wanted to own bancas with engines, fishnets, and the like.
One of the conditions, however, is for them not to go back to paaling fishing, as clearly stated by Vice President Jejomar Binay who assured them of government livelihood assistance as well as legal assistance in pursuing the charges against the maestro.
Pepino said she felt bad when informed that seven of the original complainants had received payments in exchange for the withdrawal of their complaints and will, therefore, not be eligible to receive the livelihood assistance.*JG
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