‘LAMBAKLAD’: Good politics and spirituality

‘LAMBAKLAD’: Good politics and spirituality

“Lambaklad.” A unique Tagalog word. It is a combination of two words “lambat” (fishing net) and “baklad” (fish coral). It is a type of economical and not fuel-consuming fishing method in the municipal coastal community of La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales undertaken by and with the participation of fisherfolks, both men and women, who are members of the Deep Sea Fisherfolks Association of San Narciso, Zambales.

Installed underwater in the West Philippine Sea, twenty to forty-five meters deep and about three-hundred meters from the seashore, “lambaklad” has a measurement of three hundred meters long by forty meters wide fishing net and is a three-in-one project (environmentally friendly—poverty reduction—entrepreneurial program) initiated and supported by the national government, local government, and a church organization.

Harvests of migratory fishes from the stationary “lambaklad” takes place twice a day, one in the morning at 6:00 a.m. and the other at 3:00 p.m. The fisher folks, before proceeding to “lambaklad”, pray for safety and for a good catch. Once signal is given, two or three motorized boats, including two flatboats, will sail on to its destination. A few will dive underwater and the others will be ready to haul the fish to the nets. One good harvest can yield more than one-thousand kilos of first class migratory fishes such as tuna and tuna-like species (yellowfin, bluefin), talakitok, barracuda, etc.

Once harvest is done, the fisherfolks go back to the shore and at the Fish Landing Center, they divide the catch equally, the first to the participants for their home consumption and the remainder to be sold and proceeds to be shared 70% for the members and 30% for the association. This system of sharing was restored by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (RFAR) headed by Regional Director Wilfredo Cruz, who happens to be a member of the Knights of Columbus, Luzon North Jurisdiction, Diocese of Malolos.

“Lambaklad” is good politics because this venture is a collaborative effort of the national government through the funding support from the Office of Sen. Risa Hontiveros to purchase the several million peso-worth of fishing gear and thru the formation and monitoring conducted by BFAR, of the additional funding assistance from the local government of San Narciso, Zambales through Mayor La Rainne Abad-Sarmiento, and of the capital provided by the Antipolo Seminary Foundation, Inc. for the construction of two flatboats where the hauled fishes are loaded.

If politics is the art of providing exemplary service to the people, training them and mobilizing them for a worthy purpose to ensure a bright future for all, “lambaklad” is surely one good politics.

“Lambaklad” is also good spirituality. The recognition of the importance and contribution of each one in the enterprise, the equal and generous sharing of harvest, where everyone is happy, and the prayerful acknowledgment of the care and providence of God Almighty, the source of nature’s limitless abundance, are authentic demonstrations and megaphones of a spirituality that is rich in meaning and purpose. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them (Matthew 18:19-20).

For certain, our political and religious leaders, all of us, can learn a lot from the politics and spirituality of “lambaklad.” May this cooperative fishing method be replicated in the richly blessed municipal coastal waters of the Philippine archipelago.

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