LEGAZPI CITY -- Legazpi Bishop Lucilo Quiambao Sunday appealed for help for the fisherfolk of the mining town of Rapu-Rapu in Albay after the provincial board issued a resolution declaring a state of calamity in all of the town’s villages due to a fishkill late last month.
The resolution, which Quiambao read in his homily during a Sunday morning Mass at the Parish of St. Raphael here, said the declaration was made because of the “demoralizing socioeconomic and psychological effect and impact of the Oct. 28 fishkill.”
The state of calamity was declared because the fishkill affected not only the fishermen but also 80 percent of the residents of the municipality who became “scared of eating salt-water produce from its municipal waters,” the resolution added.
Quiambao echoed the appeal by the municipal councilors who stated that the fisherfolk were in need of immediate financial and food assistance from government and international funding institutions and other nongovernmental organizations.
The eight councilors who signed the resolution dated Nov. 14 were Josue Galicia, Jun-Jun Berjuega, Larry Batas, Giovanni Guapo, Wilson Guianan, Marino Barranda Jr., Erasmo dela Cruz and Noel Dagsil.
Rapu-Rapu Mayor Dick Galicia has provided 45 bags of rice to the Sta. Florentina Parish in Barangay Poblacion in Rapu-Rapu for distribution to those residents affected by the fishkill.
The local government unit, however, could not afford to provide long-term assistance for the residents affected by the fishkill whose cause has yet to be determined, added the resolution.
When Typhoon “Mina” (international codename: Mitag) threatened to make a landfall in Bicol, 372 families or 1,860 persons evacuated from Rapu-Rapu town in Albay.
The evacuees came from Barangay Poblacion, also the village where the string of dead fish was reportedly found during the fishkill.
The Lafayette Philippines Inc. has mining leases that cover 80 percent of the island town.