Food service livelihood program brings Poro fishers added income, marine protected area closer to reality
To augment the income and help wean folks from overdependence on fishing, the Poro Sea Lovers Association (PSLA), a people's organization in barangay Poro in San Fernando City, La Union, recently opened Luto ti Poro (Ilocano for Poro Cuisine), a restaurant and catering services livelihood project.
PSLA launched Luto ti Poro to help the fisher folks of Poro, who live along the coast of San Fernando Bay, cope with the rapid development that comes with living near a large industrial zone. The livelihood project offers home-cooked local cuisines to community residents and workers. It also offers catering services to several institutions and offices of San Fernando City and Poro Point’s growing industrial and commercial zones. The food service training provided by TESDA instructors and on-the-job experience prepare the restaurant’s staffs, who are PSLA members, for possible employment in the city’s growing tourism industry. Luto ti Poro also serves as a direct-to-market venue for legally caught marine products of the PSLA members.
PSLA was founded through a grant of Php7.2 million from Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex fuels and lubricants, to the Institute of Social Order (ISO) for the creation and management of the Poro marine protected area (MPA). As a livelihood project of PSLA, Luto ti Poro will allow PSLA to focus on the planned 173-hectare multi-use Poro Marine Protected Area (MPA) to conserve Poro Bay’s depleted marine resources.
“We are inspired by how Chevron goes beyond grant donation to ensure that sustainable components are built in their social investment programs. We now have work outside of fishing. We are strongly encouraged by the growing patronage of our community because this will enable us to help that help more fishers. We encourage everyone to visit us or we can deliver straight to your doorstep. Try our best-selling Igado, Sinanglaw, and Pinaryaan Manok,” said PSLA President Moises Cacap.
Dr. Liza Lim, director of project partner Institute of Social Order (ISO), said that apart from the creation of livelihood for PSLA members, “Luto ti Poro profits can be used by PSLA to better equip the MPA guards, buy fuel for the patrol boat, and conduct more workshops for the conservation of San Fernando Bay.”
PSLA also partnered with the City Government of San Fernando and the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC) to boost support and sustainability of the Poro MPA. PPMC pledged to include PSLA and, consequently, Luto ti Poro, in their community projects. So far, the city government has provided a Php50,000 grant to jumpstart PSLA's rice trading venture to complement the eatery and an annual Php500,000 stipend for the operation of the Poro MPA.