On June 19, 2017, LLDA, led by GM Jaime Medina, attended the highly anticipated launch of Project BASIL (Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa) Program and the Distribution of Livelihood Assistance to CALABARZON fisher folk at the Old Municipal Hall in Brgy. Baybayin, Los Baños, Laguna.

BASIL is a noted national program under the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which aims to make food accessible to poor families living near lakes, rivers and creeks. By seeding the country’s lakes, rivers and creeks with an estimated 200 million fingerlings of indigenous and non-invasive fish species, BASIL hopes to ease the pressure on the country’s coastal fishing grounds, while addressing the issue of poverty. Laguna de Bay, under the jurisdiction of LLDA, was chosen to pilot the groundbreaking program.

“We are proud and honored that Laguna de Bay was chosen to be the first for the BASIL Program. As the largest lake in the country, it is the source of livelihood for hundreds of communities and thousands of families, so this program is expected to have an immense impact. Much relies on the success of this endeavor, and we assure all stakeholders that we will do our very best to ensure that the program succeeds,” shares LLDA GM Medina.

Laguna de Bay was chosen to be the pilot area upon the recommendation of LLDA, Local Government Units around Laguna de Bay, the National Ant-Poverty Commission (NAPC) , the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD), the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB), the National Agriculture & Fisheries Council (NAFC), and officers of fisherfolk groups in Laguna de Bay.

As recommended by the scientific community, the fingerlings to be seeded in the lake will include indigenous species like ayungin, biya, kanduli, gourami and non-invasive and commercially profitable species like tilapia and bangus. Freshwater shrimps or ulang, native catfish and mudfish will also be propagated for seeding in the lake.

During the program, GM Medina offered a short message of support, along with Hon. Ramil Hernandez, Governor of Laguna and Sen. Cynthia Villar who is Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food. Also participating in the ceremonies were Hon. Caesar Perez, Municipal Mayor of Los Baños, Laguna; Eduardo Gongona, Undersecretary for Fisheries and National BFAR Director; and Emmanuel Piñol, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.