30 March 2021

The Department of Science and Technology Region V (DOST V) provided innovation support to LGU-Castilla, Sorsogon through a fund transfer on 08 March 2021 at DOST V, Rawis, Legazpi City, for the implementation of the project “Establishment of Smoked Fish Production Facility”. LGU-Castilla is one of the beneficiary communities of DOST’s Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program in Bicol.

The project was approved in 2020 through the leadership of DOST V Regional Director Mr. Rommel R. Serrano, the DOST V Provincial S&T Center (PSTC) – Sorsogon headed by Provincial S&T Director Mr. Emmanuel G. Guim, and LGU-Castilla Mayor Hon. Isagani Mendoza, after a series of consultations with the LGU and the Macalaya Fisherfolks Organization (MFO). Seventy-five (75) fisherfolk-members of the organization from the coastal barangay of Macalaya will benefit from the project. LGU-Castilla organized MFO to undertake activities that will impact the socio-economic development of their community, its members and their families.

The proposed project, worth P1,957,000, is composed of two phases: 1) Piloting, and 2) Commercial Operations, to determine the technological viability of processing smoked law-law fish. P1,057,500 of the project cost will be provided by LGU-Castilla as their counterpart, while DOST V will provide P900,000 for the procurement of 1 unit smoke house, 1 unit steaming equipment, 3 units stainless working tables, 1 set water facility/system, 1 unit horizontal continuous band sealer with nitrogen flushing, 1 unit freezer, 1 unit hanging-type weighing scale, 1 unit digital weighing scale (grammer), 20 pcs food crates, and 20 pcs Styrofoam boxes.

LGU-Castilla officials Mayor Mendoza and Municipal Administrator Mr. Ian M. Llona received the project funds from RD Serrano and Mr. Guim, together with CEST Program Coordinator Ms. Fae B. Banda, and key DOST V officials.

RD Serrano was delighted that DOST V has once again served as an instrument in helping our fellow Bicolanos, particularly the fisherfolks of Macalaya, to improve their quality of life and capacitate them when prices of fish are fluctuating. For fisherfolks, “no production will mean no income”, and even oversupply bring less income because of low pricing. The provision of housing and steaming equipment will extend the shelf life of fish and improve quality, which in turn can stabilize prices.

DOST V has also previously extended assistance to LGU-Castilla through various programs and projects, such as the provision of Science & Technology Academe and Research Based Openly Operated Kiosk System (STARBOOKS) units and faceshields fabricated by the Metals Industry Research & Development Center (MIRDC). LGU-Castilla fervently hopes for the success of the project, and looks forward to more partnerships between DOST V and the municipality.

According to the Castilla Municipal Agricultural Office, for the years 2006, 2007, 2017 and 2018 there was a recorded volume of 2,490.392, 2,720.916, 220.0, and 303.072 metric tons, respectively, of herring fish transported from the port of Macalaya. Upon landing, these volumes were directly distributed to various points in Metro Manila to supply sardine processors and wholesalers. No portion were left in the municipality for local consumption; rather, they are traded immediately to brokers at minimal price to avoid incurring additional cost for preservation. Also, fisherfolks and micro fish processors often lack the technological capability to transform fresh fish into high value processed commodities. These facts and figures prompted DOST V Provincial S&T Center – Sorsogon to coordinate with LGU-Castilla and propose the project, which will bring additional livelihood to more than seventy-five (75) fisherfolks in the coastal barangay of Macalaya.

This project is one of the CEST-identified interventions for LGU-Castilla that will contribute in addressing the community’s basic social needs for development. In the municipalities of Magallanes and Bulan, where it was observed that excess supplies during peak fishing season are seldom thrown away due to perishability and low market value, research and development have been explored for the possibility of extracting oil from lawlaw as potential source of fish oil, as well as mechanical deboning for minced fish products.

In addition to the project fund, DOST V likewise provided Mayor Mendoza and his retinue with REwear face masks developed by the DOST – Philippine Textile Research Industry (PTRI). (F.B. Banda / J.C. Ceriola, DOST V; PSTC-Sorsogon)