SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) has partnered with the local “Bantay Dagat” task force to help small fishing communities in Calatagan, Batangas.

SMC said in a statement on Tuesday that patrol boats were donated to the community task force in Calatagan that enforces coastal and fisheries laws with the help of coastal villages.

The company added that the town and the Philippine Air Force assigned in Batangas were also given a boat each to increase surveillance in the area, while 19 motorized boats were distributed to local fisherfolk groups for their livelihood.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said the donation aims to help address illegal fishing activities and other methods that damage marine ecosystems in the area.

“Our goal is to help preserve and protect marine resources, so that local fishermen can sustain and even improve their livelihoods for the long-term. The sea is their primary source of food and income,” he said.

Mr. Ang said the company formed the fishermen into groups that will share the ownership and maintenance of the donated boats.

“Some 57 fishermen will co-own the boats and benefit from the donation. The fishermen, who have never owned their own fishing boats, are mostly relocatees from the towns of Calatagan and Balayan,” he said.

“We want to help where we can make the biggest difference — in this case, empowering locals to better protect the seas and their livelihoods — and bring tangible, sustainable benefits in communities where we operate,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave