DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, December 21, led the commissioning of government ships BRP Lapu-Lapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy, which are expected to help strengthen the state’s ability to combat illegal fishing and immediately respond to disasters.

“Our activities today are proof of the government’s resolve to empower and protect our country’s farmers and fisherfolk,” the President said in his speech during the commissioning held at the Sasa Wharf here in Davao City.

“The commissioning of the BRP Lapu-Lapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy will strengthen the government’s programs against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” he said.

The two steel-hulled offshore vessels will be deployed in various parts of the country to intensify fisheries law enforcement operations, he added.

President Duterte said the ships are significant because it will be used to transport food to places anywhere in the Philippines during hunger or famine and can also be used for search and rescue during disasters and calamities.

Being a window to the Pacific, the country’s coastal waters facing the Pacific Ocean are very vulnerable to devastations by typhoons. Typhoon “Urduja” recently wrought havoc to Eastern Visayas, particularly damaging vital infrastructures in the province of Biliran.

“I just came from Biliran the other day and not so much about the devastation sa infrastructure including the casualties,” President Duterte said. “They are still in the search and rescue.”

During the same event, the President also led the launching of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Rice-Corn Blend Program, which he said, could help supplement the income of the country’s corn farmers and promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos.

Like rice, corn is also a major staple in the Philippines. The crop can be grown everywhere and is also very easy to propagate.

The Chief Executive said the program also has health benefits, noting that the rice-corn blend has been shown to lessen the risk of diabetes, delay hunger pangs and promote weight loss.

Read more: https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/president-duterte-leads-commissioning-two-ships-fight-illegal-fishing-quickly-respond-disasters/