Christmas spirit comes alive in Semirara Island

The fiberglass boats are built through a bayanihan system, with the beneficiaries taking part in the fabrication and technical assistance provided by experts from the Municipal Agricultural Office of Caluya, Antique. | PHOTOGRAPHs COURTESY OF SMPC

DMCI Holdings Inc. unit Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, the largest local coal producer, in partnership with the Department of Energy, is bringing Christmas cheer to fisherfolk of Semirara Island as they will receive additional 35 motorized fiberglass boats for their livelihood.

The boats will be distributed to the fisherfolk of barangays Semirara (25 recipients), Tinogboc (5 recipients) and Alegria (5 recipients).

To date, SMPC has turned over 40 of the pledged 75 boats. Materials to fabricate the boats, including the motor engine, propeller, shafting, and rudder assembly, were provided by SMPC.

The fiberglass banca program aims to promote sustainable fishing in the area. Priority is given to indigent fishermen to give them additional livelihood, income, and food sustenance for their families.

“We hope to help our impact communities by coming up with a sustainable livelihood program that will generate greater economic benefit for the locals,” Maria Cristina Gotianun, SMPC president and chief operating officer, said.

Gonzago Magan, a beneficiary from Barangay Tinogboc, with his wife and grandchild.

Compared to traditional wooden boats, fiberglass boats are of greater benefit to fishermen because they are more durable, spanning approximately 30 to 50 years.

“May mga pagkakataon na malakas ang alon, lalo na ngayong Disyembre. Pero dahil sa fiberglass bangka, nakakapangisda pa rin kami sa medyo mas malalim. Nakakapanghuli kami at binebenta namin sa tindahan” (Even with the strong waves this December, we are able to fish in deep waters because of our fiberglass banca and sell the catch), Gonzago Magan, a beneficiary from Barangay Tinogboc, said.

“Nakakatulong po talaga dahil malakas ang bentahan ng isda ngayong buwan, kaya may panghanda na kami sa Pasko para sa mga apo namin” (It’s a big help to us because fish sell well this month, so we have food for our grandchildren this Christmas), he added.

SMPC’s Social Development Program supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDG, specifically on food security and poverty alleviation.

SMPC has also spearheaded other initiatives to protect the island’s ecosystem and long-term sustainability. Its Semirara Marine Hatchery Laboratory maintains a giant clams nursery that propagates and reseeds endangered clams which are considered keystone species crucial to marine water biodiversity along the coastal waters of Semirara Island.

SMPC also deployed man-made reef balls in the coastal waters to create artificial reefs that can help combat the adverse effects of overfishing and destructive fishing methods.

Two of the company’s power subsidiaries, Sem-Calaca Power Corporation and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation, deployed such artificial coral reefs in April 2022 along the Marine Protected Area of Barangay Carenahan in Balayan, Batangas, and equipped the shoreline with a watchtower that local sea patrol community volunteers can use to monitor activities in the protected environment.

To know more about how SMPC goes beyond business to create a sustainable future through its Environmental, Social, and Governance programs, visit facebook.com/SMPCEmpoweringOthers.


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