mall enterprise development is a crucial component of the coastal resource
management program of the quiet village of Port Barton in San Vicente,
a town on the west coast of Palawan facing the South China Sea. (Related
story) As in most rural coastal villages in the country, the people
of Port Barton engage primarily in fishing, a source of livelihood that
is increasingly threatened by overfishing and marine habitat destruction.
The introduction of environmentally sensitive enterprise models in the
area is seen as an effective strategy to stimulate economic growth, secure
supplemental incomes for community members, and at the same time arrest
the continued decline of the marine environment.
There are several small enterprise projects in San Vicente that fit these
criteria. Among these are the Port Barton Women's Integrated Small Enterprise,
Capsalay Island seaweed farm, and the Panindigan Women's Association sardine
The women's enterprise in Port Barton was established on February 9, 1993
by a group of housewives. With the assistance of the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) and the US Agency for International Development
(USAID), each member contributed Php600, allowing the organization to
raise Php25,000 to establish a cooperative store. The store sells consumer
goods and basic necessities, such as bread, coffee, rice, sugar, and soap.
About 20 women remain active in the cooperative. Making daily deposits
at the Cooperative Bank of Palawan, they have accumulated savings amounting
The seaweed farm project started in August 17, 1999 at Capsalay Island.
Twenty-four families and groups cultivate Kappaphycus seaweed in floating
modules or plots around the island. The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist
supplied the initial seaweed stock, and CRMP
provided technical assistance and materials (rope, buoys, and concrete).
The seaweeds are planted in small clusters, each about the size of a man's
fist. In three months, the clusters grow into large bunches, which are
harvested, dried for three days, stockpiled until there is enough to make
one ton, and then sold to wholesale buyers in Puerto Princesa City, where
there is a good demand for the Kappaphycus seaweed.
Community members participate in the
mapping of coastal resources
in their area, enhancing their awareness of environmental issues.
CRMP's intervention has boosted the community's capabilities and confidence,
while simultaneously enhancing awareness of environmental issues. The
local government has formulated a resolution allocating and delineating
specific zones around the island to used strictly for seaweed farming.
If passed, it will give the community legal rights over the area, and
protect the island from over-development and potential destructive practices.
The seaweed farm has made community members more appreciative of the need
for preserving delicate marine ecosystems. At one point, cyanide fishing
was thought to have posed a threat to the farm, so community members stepped
up efforts to stop the illegal practice in their area. Easily the most
active is Puring Alimodin, who owns six seaweed modules and chairs the
seaweed farmers' association.
Seaweed farming provides a promising
for Port Barton's marine resource-dependent residents.
In Barangay Panindigan, a sardine processing plant run by 15 women, is
now producing "Palawan's Best" canned sardines. The women process
low-quality fish, valued at Php5 per kilo, into high-quality sardines,
which sell at about Php15 per kilo. The sardines, priced Php40.50 per
jar at retail, have become a sought-after commodity. Already, the product
placed 3rd in the "Best Palawan Pasalubong"
contest at last year's Annual Provincial Fair.
With assistance from CRMP, the women sell their product wholesale to the
People's Global Exchange in Quezon City. A portion of their profits is
earmarked for micro-lending, building up their capital base, and protection
of Panindigan's coastal ecosystem. In the future, the association hopes
to develop new enterprises that will benefit the larger community.
"Pasalubong" - "a coming-home
present". It is a tradition in the Philippines for anyone returning
from an out-of-town trip to bring home presents for friends and relatives.
There is a thriving "pasalubong" market in the country, with
the food sector being one of the most popular.