BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES
CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
The Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources has gone a milestone from time of its creation. BFAR started under the Department of Agriculture in July 1986 when BFAR Regional Offices were merged with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food as Fisheries Division.
Then after with the issuance of Executive Order No. 116 on January 30, 1987, BFAR was fully integrated with the Department of Agriculture. With the provisions of the Order, the Agency shall aimed at accelerating agricultural development and enhance the production of agricultural crops, fisheries and livestock by optimizing the use of resources and applying advanced farming systems technology with the end in view of attainting food security for domestic use and expanding agricultural production for export.
In the same year, when President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 220 on July 5, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was created and became one of the regions in the Philippines. The region was composed of six provinces when Abra, Benguet, and Mt. Province of Ilocos Region and the provinces of Apayao, Ifugao, and Kalinga of the Cagayan Valley Region were annexed as part of the newly created region.
Hence, the Regional Office of the Department of Agriculture in Cordillera region was established at the BPI Compound, Guisad, Baguio City. Just like in any other regions, fisheries remained a division continuing its mandated functions.
On February 25, 1998, President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Republic Act No. 8550 which entitled, “An Act Providing for the Development, Management, and Conservation of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Integrating All Laws pertinent thereto and for other purposes”, or otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998. This law, which took effect on March 23 in the same year, resulted to the reconstitution of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources as a line bureau under the Department of Agriculture. This likewise led to the creation of BFAR Regional Offices nationwide.
Here in Cordillera, BFAR became operational on January 4, 1999 as one of the newly reconstitutes bureaus through the leadership of Assistant Regional Libertito S. Feliciano. Its first regional office was established at the Highland Agriculture Development Project (HADP) building through a Memorandum of Agreement with the Bureau of Plant Industry.
In 2000, with the growing number of BFAR personnel staff members, the HADP building was rehabilitated into a two-storey building accommodating 23 regular personnel and 38 job orders. Therefore, the growing deliverable services of the bureau necessitates the construction of a new building facility and thus the leadership of Regional Director Rebecca G. Dang-awan prompted the acquisition of 500 square meters lot area and the sourcing out of funds for its construction.
It was on August 8, 2007 when the newly built office building was fully constructed and inaugurated a month after. The building has an area of 216 square meters constituting of three stories. It houses four functional divisions namely Administrative and Finance Division, Fisheries Extension, Training, and Communication Division, Fisheries Resources Management Division, and Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division.
In 2009, another 500 square meters was acquired adjacent to the regional office for the construction of three-storey BFAR extension building. The building has two guest rooms and a 20 pax capacity dormitory for male and female. The third floor was intended for the construction of Cordillera Hall.
In 2010, the ground-breaking ceremony of the Post-harvest and Laboratory Center to be built was also conducted to expand further the services of the bureau on fish health management, post-harvest technology, and Agri-Pinoy Fishmart Facility. It was inaugurated on August 06, 2012 by the Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala simultaneously with the inauguration of the Cordillera Hall which was later built due to insufficient funds.
The bureau’s regional facilities include La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet; Ubao Fish Farm in Aguinaldo, Ifugao; and Rizal Lowland Fish Farm in Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga. These technology outreach stations are intended for the improvement and maintenance of quality fingerlings and brood stocks.
It was in 2013, when Dr. Lilibeth L. Signey took over as Regional Director after the retirement of RD Dang-awan, BFAR Provincial Fishery Offices was built and operationalized to capacitate the BFAR programs and services efficiently and effectively.
To date, BFAR-CAR opened its provincial offices in Abra located at Brgy. Calaba, Bangued; in Ifugao located at Banting, Poblacion West, Lamut; and in Mt. Province located at Brgy Caluttit, Bontoc. Other provincial offices are located in Tumog, Luna, Apayao; Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga; and La Trinidad, Benguet.