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Organizational membership of fisherfolks in fishing villages in Palawan, Philippines.


Fishing contributed to the bulk of the total household income which enabled them to provide for the basic needs and amenities of their households. The importance of the fishing activities cannot be overemphasized and is attested by its contribution to the province's total fish production. The fisherfolks perceived that fishing activities had highly contributed to their socio-economic condition with mean stakeholder participation is an integral factor in fishery resources management formulation and implementation and law enforcement. Thus, fisherfolks as participants must not only be involved in activities but should also act as controllers and managers of their resources.

Membership to organization is important among fisherfolks for empowerment and bringing them to the decision-making process into it. This puts a strong emphasis on participation in political structures and in the economic sphere, on the ability to obtain an income that enables participation in economic decision-making. Individuals are empowered when they are able to maximize the opportunities available to them without constraints.

This refers to the membership of fisherfolks to community-based organizations, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, fishery cooperatives and associations, People Organizations (POs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

Opportunities to acquire appropriate technologies that will enable them to contribute to sustained fisheries development and growth should be provided. It is therefore essential to increase fisherfolks participation and decision-making in fisheries.


This study was conducted to determine and analyze the demographic characteristics of fisherfolks; identify membership to organization, benefits/incentives received from organization, existence and activities of organizations, and types of interventions to address regulations, legislation and fishery laws implemented in the fishing community.


The study was conducted in selected fishing villages in two municipalities in Northern Palawan namely: Taytay and San Vicente and three other municipalities in Southern Palawan which include Aborlan, Quezon and Puerto Princesa City (Fig. 1).

In a number of reports, Malampaya Sound and Taytay Bay are defined as "The Fish Bowl of the Philippines." These fishing grounds contributed to the total municipal fisheries of the Province of Palawan ranging in between 25-35% (National Integrated Protected Areas Programme, Socio Economic and Cultural Profile of Malampaya Sound, Palawan, 1998).

However, Aborlan is blessed with vast coastal and deep sea fish. Fishing methods most commonly used in catching fish were for coastal and deep sea fishing gears. In San Vicente, Palawan the two fishing villages Sitio Panindigan of Barangay Poblacion and Barangay New Agutay were also rich of marine resources.

Further, Quezon, Palawan has a total of 470-hectare fishing ground. Fishing is another major economic activity in the municipality. The rich municipal fishing grounds include Malanut Bay, Berong Sea, Aramaywan Bay, Maasin Bay, Tamlangon Island and Panitian Bay. Furthermore, Puerto Princesa City boast vast stretches of coastline and is surrounded by major fishing grounds including Puerto Princesa Bay, Sulu Sea, Honda Bay, St. Paul Bay and Ulugan Bay.

Three-stage sampling was employed, first stage was the selection of the municipalities, the second stage was the selection of the fishing villages and the third stage was the selection of the fisherfolks, respectively.

A total of 247 fisherfolk were considered in this study in fishing villages of Mainland Palawan. A structured interview schedule was used and the data gathered were organized, tabulated and analyzed using frequency distributions, percentages and means.


Demographic Characteristics of Fisherfolk

Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of the fisherfolk. Results showed that 52.63% of the fisherfolk household are males and 47.37% are females. Results obtained is similar to the report of Bernardo and de los Reyes (2001) regarding the Fishery Profile in Puerto Princesa Bay, that the male-female ratio was 1: 1.

Results showed that fishing is the main occupation which generates an average household monthly income of PhP5,739.92 among the fisherfolks. The mean household size of the respondent was five members and age bracket belong to 30-39 years old.

Such findings are in conformity with the findings of Bernardo and Delos Reyes (2001) that the average household size of the fisherfolk-respondents in Puerto Princesa City is five members.

The other demographic characteristics of fisherfolks, results revealed that 41.70% belong to the age bracket of 30-39 years old. This conform to the findings of Bernardo and Delos Reyes (2001) that the average age of fisherfolks in Puerto Princesa Bay was 39 years old.

The educational attainment among women is higher who were elementary graduate compared to men who reached elementary level. Majorities were married, and ethnic affiliation of most of the fisherfolk was Bisaya/Cebuano.

Thus, that the Filipinos get married as part of social, culture, when of age and having a gainful job or occupation. However, this study conforms to the findings of Bernardo et al., (2001) that fisherfolks only finished elementary education.

Membership in Organization

As to membership in organizations as presented in Table 2, majority (63.56%) of the fisherfolk were members of fishermen cooperative, (25.51%) fishermen association and 5.26% of Bagong Siglo. A few are members of Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Incorporated, Urban Poor Association and Neighborhood Indigenous Association and 7.29% did not give any response. This implies that fisherfolks joined organizations in their communities.

In addition, fishing communities in Puerto Princesa City had also organized themselves into a cooperative and association in order to provide its member's supplemental fishery based-livelihood.

In Barangay Bagong Sikat, there were four active people organizations: Liberty Fishermen Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Incorporated, Samahang Magkapitbahay, Samahang Mahihirap and Charity Women Association.

Likewise, in Barangay Mandaragat, Puerto Princesa City, fisherfolks' organizations and associations were formed: Samahang Kababaihan Kabalikat ng Mangingisda, Charity Women's Association, Palawan Compressor Fishing Operators and Divers Association, Baby Trawl Fishing Association and Samahang Magbabaling ng Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa. Loans were extended to members for small business ventures. Livelihood activities intended to augment the income of fisherfolk and other members of the village were initiated by people's organization.

Such organizations support the implementation of the Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550); Section 69 which assigns municipal/city LGUs to assist in the creation of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC) which shall be formed by fisherfolk organization/cooperatives and NGOs in the locality.

This is in recognition of the active participation of local fisherfolk and coastal communities by stating that the establishment of Municipal Fisheries Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC) is obligatory.

Furthermore, AFMA (RA 8435, 1997) provides the market approach in assisting the fisheries and agriculture sectors, who will be empowered to develop and sustain themselves. AFMA's policy goals are anchored on its principles: poverty alleviation and social security, food security, national use of resources, global competitiveness, sustainable development, people empowerment, and protection from unfair competition.

Benefits/Incentives received from the organization

As to the benefits/incentives received from the organization of the 109 fisherfolks who applied membership to the organization, 46.79% availed of the trainings and technology, 24.77% of credit assistance, 8.26% of livelihood opportunities, 5.50% for access to facilities 3.67% for market of fish catch and few for security and fish shelter (payao). This implies that fisherfolk were motivated to become a member to the organization particularly fishermen's association and cooperative because of the benefits and incentives provided, which fisherfolk considered as an opportunity.

This is in conform to the findings of Bernardo, et al. (2001) that people organizations were also reportedly supportive in providing technical assistance and conducting trainings, information dissemination and other benefits as promoting unity and cooperation among community members.

Non-Government Organizations

With regards to non-government organizations existing in the Barangay, majority (65.59%) of the fisherfolks had no knowledge on their presence in the village while 34.41% responded that they were aware of the existing NGOs.

The NGOs identified by the fisherfolks include the following: Dunganon (32.94%) established in Taytay, Palawan which extended credit to the members; Tambuyog Development Corporation, Inc. (TDCI) (25.88%) which provided credit and conducted livelihood trainings among fisherfolks in Purok Little Tondo, Barangay Poblacion, Taytay, Palawan; World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (24.71%) for environmental protection, conservation and marine resources management.

Likewise, few fisherfolks cited Taytay sa Kauswagan Incorporated (TKI) (12.94%), Javlon Development Corporation (10.59%), Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), Liberty Fishermen Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Incorporated (LIFIMCO), Ecumenical Church Foundation, Incorporated (ECLOF), and Palawan NGO Network, Incorporated (PNNI) and Palawan Cooperative Union, Incorporated (PCUI).

Findings imply that in addition to government organizations, there are also NGOs assisting the fisherfolks in their communities. However, it is noticeable that NGOs are mostly operating in the north for fishery-related activities.

According to Dela Cruz, et al., (1997) non-organizations are aberrations of good and efficient governance. In the Philippines, there are approximately 10,000 NGOs including "fly-by-night institutions," serving different sectors and propagating caboodle of issues. Some of them may be fake, and others may be "front" of politicians and underground movements but the deep-rooted dilemmas that gave rise and/or justified their existence remain to these days.

Moreover, Dela Cruz, et al., (1997) pointed out that in the coastal communities the unheeded problems of marine resources depletion and poverty have urged development institutions "to act like a government," organizing cooperatives, providing basic services such as education and health, mediating conflict between commercial and municipal fishers and promoting planned use of resources.

Government agencies seek collaboration with NGOs in order to see their program efforts and activities spread more widely. NGOs serve primarily as facilitators to mobilize fishing communities to analyze and prioritized their local needs, help them conceived, design and plan remedial interventions (Balano, 1998).

On the part of ELAC, which provides legal assistance and counseling in defense of environmental rights including legal representation, it also strongly advocates the empowerment of fishers and farmers for environmental management activities (Fellizar, et al., 2001). In addition, fishers in Puerto Princesa Bay had also organized themselves into cooperatives and associations to provide members supplemental fishery-based livelihood.

Moreover, Taytay sa Kauswagan, Incorporated (TSKI), activities are geared toward the upliftment from poverty of the least privileged brothers and sisters through the development of income-generating and job-creating micro-enterprises. Through this program, TSKI adheres closely to its role as catalyst in concretely providing jobs and increasing income through business development among depressed sectors of the community (Taytay sa Kauswagan Inc. Brochure, 2005).

Activities of the Non-Government Organizations

As to activities of the non-government organizations, majority (54.12%) of the activities of NGOs in the community were on loan/credit assistance, monitoring (27.06%), training (21.18%) and community organizing (11.76%), respectively. Few numbers reported business activities, established projects, patrol/catching of illegal fishing and financial assistance.

The result indicates that NGOs existence in the communities were more of loan/credit and training providers. Although many respondents had already been involved in the training activities in the past particularly in Taytay, these were found ineffective due to lack of adequate follow-up and support mechanisms.

Results obtained are similar to the report of Bernardo (2001) regarding the re-strategizing training activity the key issue in Puerto Princesa City. With the implementation of Fisheries Resource Management Project (FRMP), the city government and other institutions had devised and implemented training programs rather than training activities with the key components: the training module, an evaluation and monitoring component and post-training assistance component which will include the necessary credit marketing, training, and for necessary support to ensure that the participants could implement the training intention.

In addition, the NGOs play a vital role as catalysts, mobilizers, feedback facilitators, analysts, advocate and educators Siddeque (1993) as cited by Balano (1998). Likewise, Ocampo (1990) as cited by Balano (1998), more NGOs are relatively small and flexible. Their services are focused on marginal groups in the rural and urban areas. Their activities ranged from technical aspects in planning and credit, education, organization and access to more credit. Generally, NGOs are people-oriented with firm conviction of the need for people's participation in formulating and reaching decisions and the process affecting them.

Implementation of Fishery Laws

Results showed that of the 247 respondents, majority (56.28%) claimed that they were aware of the implementation of fishery laws in the fishing communities while the rest (43.72%) indicated otherwise.

Those who were aware about fishery laws indicated that the law is about prohibiting illegal fishing (87.77%). A limited number cited banning compressor and destructive gears, use of fine-meshed nets, banning of cyanide, licensing of fishing boats and implementation of RA 8550. Likewise, only one respondent pointed out open access, control of entrance of other fisherfolk and proper implementation of Bantay Dagat, RA 7160 and Fisheries Code of Taytay, respectively. This finding implies that the fisherfolk were aware of the implementation of fishery laws but intensification of campaign on this should be considered.

This supports Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which mandates the municipality/city government in consultation with the FARMC, to enact appropriate ordinances for this purpose and in accordance with the National Fisheries Policy.

Interventions Formulated to Address Issues in Fisheries

The interventions formulated to address issues in fisheries include fishing vessel licensing (81.78%) and fishing gear licensing (80.97%). Some of the respondents responded access to fishery resources (49.39%) and law enforcement (48.58%), and a limited number on exclusive fishery zones and resource use limits. This implies that LGUs have formulated interventions regarding enforcement of fishery laws, rules and regulations and other fisheries ordinances.

The LGUs had been given powers to enforce all fishery laws, rules and regulations as well as valid fishery ordinances.

Interventions that Fisherfolk would like to Address

The various interventions that fisherfolks would like to address and the most deemed was women's empowerment (59.51%), followed by men and women's participation (44.53%), a continuous education and information (39.68%), women's recognition (38.46%) and community organizing (23.48%). A few fisherfolks responded formulation of ordinances 2.02%. This indicates that the fisherfolks have issues which they would like to be addressed by LGU interventions.

Moreover, intervention to strengthen and formalize women's role in fisheries and other community development initiatives should be instituted. Villareal (1995) pointed out that organizing women's groups may not answer all the problems faced by women in fisheries, but it can serve as a starting point and a basis for continuing action. Organized women's groups hold the prospect for women's practical and strategic needs. It can serve as channels for economic and social development inputs. In this way, their community managing role is transformed into that of a more meaningful community leadership role.


The fisherfolks have a low income and low educational attainment and most of them are Bisaya/Cebuano. Fisherfolks are members of fishermen's cooperatives, fishermen's association, Bagong Siglo, Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc., Urban Poor Association and Neighborhood Indigenous Association. The benefits received by the fisherfolks are livelihood trainings, technology, credits, access to facilities and marketing of fish catch.



The author would like to express his sincere thanks and gratitude to the people who contributed in the making of this research: the administration of Western Philippines University, the Provincial Government of Palawan, Local Government Units, fisherfolks as respondents of the study and other stakeholders.


Balano, I. V. 1998 "Dynamics of Inter-Institutional Cooperation/Conflict in Coastal Resource Management in Eastern Visayas." UPLB, College, Laguna, Philippines.

Bernardo, R. G. V. B. Catain, A. C. Sandalo, C. S. de los Reyes 2001 Socio-demographic Profile of Puerto Princesa Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Resource and Social Assessment of Honda Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay Terminal Report.

Bernardo, R. G. V. B. Catain, A. C. Sandalo, C. S. de los Reyes 2001 Socio-demographic Profile of Puerto Princesa Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Resource and Social Assessment of Honda Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay Terminal Report.

Dela Cruz, Q. L. and R. Lopez. 1997 A Chronicle of Partnership and Cooperation. Lundayan Journal. Tambuyog Development Center, Inc., Diliman, Quezon City.

Fellizar, F. P. Jr., R. G. Bernardo and A. C. Sandalo 2001 Policy and Institutional Analysis of Honda and Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Resource and Social Assessment of Honda Bay and Puerto Princesa Bay Terminal Report.

1998. NIPAS, Socio-Economic and Cultural Profile of Malampaya Sound.

Republic Act No. 7160. Local Government Code of 1991.

Republic Act No. 8435. Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1998.

Republic Act No. 8550. The Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998. 2005 Taytay sa Kauswagan, Incorporated Brochure. Villareal, L. V.

1995 Rural Women in Fisheries: Organizing for Change. Paper presented during the Sectoral Consultation and Workshop on Fisheries Policy Planning and Industry Development held on November 22-23, 1995 at the Sulo Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines.


ORCID No. 0000-0002-1930-3904

Associate Professor IV

Western Philippines University

Puerto Princesa Campus

Puerto Princesa City

Table 1. Sex distribution and household
size of fisherfolk.

Characteristics   f(n=247)    %


  Male            130         52.63
  Female          117         47.37

Household Size

  1-3             54          21.86
  4-6             136         55.06
  7-9             53          21.46
  10-12           4           1.62

Mean              5 Members

Table 2. Membership in organization, benefits/incentives
received by fisherfolks

Characteristics                          f(n = 247)   %

Membership in Organization *

  Fishermen Cooperative                  157          63.56
  Fishermen Association                  63           25.51
  Bagong Siglo                           13           5.26
  Taytay sa Kauswagan, Incorporated      1            0.40
  Urban Poor Association                 1            0.40
  Neighborhood Indigenous Association    1            0.40
  Inactive member                        18           7.29

Benefits received from Organization * (n = 247)

  Trainings and Technology               51           46.79
  Credit assistance                      27           24.77
  Livelihood opportunities               9            8.26
  Access to facilities                   6            5.50
  Market of fish stocks                  4            3.67
  Fish Shelter (Payao)                   2            1.83
  Security                               1            0.92

Table 3. Awareness of the existence and activities
of the organizations

Characteristics                             f(n = 247)   %

Awareness of the existence of NGOs

  Aware                                     85           34.41
  Not aware                                 162          65.59

Existing NGOs * (n = 85)

  Dunganon                                  28           32.94
  Tambuyog Development Corporation, Inc.    22           25.88
  World Wildlife Fund                       21           24.71
  Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc.                 11           12.94
  Javlon Development Corporation            9            10.59
  Environment Legal Assistance Center       6            7.06
  Liberty Fishermen Multi-Purpose           6            7.06
    Cooperative, Inc.
  Ecumenical Church Foundation, Inc.        5            5.88
  Palawan NGO Network, Inc.                 2            2.35
  Palawan Cooperative Union, Inc.           1            1.18

Activities of NGOs * (n = 85)

  Loans/Credit assistance                   46           54.12
  Monitoring                                23           27.06
  Training                                  18           21.18
  Community organizing                      10           11.76
  Business                                  3            3.53
  Patrol/Catching of illegal fishing        2            2.35
  Establish projects                        2            2.35
  Financial assistance                      1            1.18

Table 4. Awareness and types of fishery laws
and interventions formulated

Characteristics                           f(n = 247)   %

Awareness of fishery laws

  Aware                                   139          56.28
  Not aware                               108          43.72

Types of fishery laws
implemented * (n = 139)

  Prohibit illegal fishing                122          87.77
  Ban compressor/Destructive gears        6            4.32
  Size of net                             3            2.16
  Ban cyanide                             2            1.44
  Licensing of fishing boats              2            1.44
  RA 8550                                 2            1.44
  Open access fishing                     1            0.72
  RA 7160                                 1            0.72
  Bantay Dagat                            1            0.72
  Fisheries Code of Taytay                1            0.72
  Entrance of other fisherfolk            1            0.72

Interventions formulated
by fisherfolk

  Fishing vessel license                  202          81.78
  Fishing gear license                    200          80.97
  Access to fishery resources             122          49.39
  Law enforcement                         120          48.58
  Exclusive fishery privileges            10           4.05
  Exclusive fishery zones                 7            2.83
  Resource use limits                     7            2.83

Types of interventions

  Women's empowerment                     147          59.51
  Men and women's participation           110          44.53
  Continuous education and information    98           39.68
  Women's recognition                     95           38.46
  Community Organizing                    58           23.48
  Formulation of ordinances               5            2.02

* Multiple Responses
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Article Details
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Author:Nalzaro, Oscar G.
Publication:Asian Journal of Business & Governance
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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