THE Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office in Tacloban City is pushing for the inclusion of fish sanctuaries rehabilitation project in Eastern Samar province under the World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

The proposal will be forwarded to the PRDP-Visayas project support office early of May after weeks of project proposal revisions.

“We are confident of the project approval since Eastern Visayas is among the few regions prioritized to be supported under the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) due to high poverty incidence and depleting marine resources,” DA Regional Executive Director U-Nichols Manalo said.

GEF, with a World Bank grant of P300 million, is part of the package under the PRDP. The DA will still have to find out the specific cost for Eastern Samar’s protected areas.

The project is intended for the protection of coastal and marine resource base in pre-identified priority areas by preserving biodiversity and promoting fisheries resource management.

Covered areas by marine protection rehabilitation are the towns of Guiuan, Mercedes Salcedo, Quinapondan, and Lawaan.

Among the projects are the P1.4 million fishing and trading enterprise in Guiuan and the P1 million mangrove production in Quinapondan.

“We need to fully maximize this opportunity to promote sustainable marine protected areas, which will benefit primarily our fishing communities along that coast,” he said.

Specifically, the project seeks to strengthen the marine protected areas, eradicate violations within covered areas, and provision of livelihood opportunities for the community residents.

The PRDP regional advisory board approved the project on April 10. (PNA)