How the Family Strengthening Program Helps Fishermen in Bataan
November 9 2022

How the Family Strengthening Program Helps Fishermen in Bataan

Through the family strengthening program, SOS Children's Villages Philippines provides supports to families in Bataan, including the local fishing communities.

Mariveles, Bataan is one of the Philippines’ many active economic hubs. In particular, Bataan is known for the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) where its main industries are in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), business process outsourcing (BPO), manufacturing, and many more. The aim of the FAB is to spread development through investments and employment opportunities. 

However, despite the efforts of the FAB to spread development in the area, there are still places in Mariveles that have yet to experience said development, one of them being the fishing community in Sitio San Lorenzo Gatchalian.  

Before the FAB was established, one of Mariveles’s main livelihoods is fishing. But sometimes, fishers would also dabble in other work like carpentry to make ends meet if certain fish are not in season. For the people of Sitio San Lorenzo Gatchalian, their special catch would be taksay (toothpony fish). 

Way before the establishment of the FAB, the fishermen of the sitio would not need to go far out to sea just to catch taksay. The fish near the shore were abundant and the waters at the time were cleaner as well. But as the years passed, with climate change and nearby developments picking up speed, and resources becoming less accessible, the fishermen were compelled to sail further and further from shore just to catch a sizable number of fish for meals at the very least. 

Tatay Rene* fixes and weaves his own fishing nets for his fishing trips, something he has done for as long as he has lived in Sitio San Lorenzo Gatchalian. 

Where the Fish Have Gone 

Tatay Rene* is one of many fishermen of Sitio San Lorenzo Gatchalian, and his family are participants in SOS Children’s Villages Philippines’ family strengthening program (FSP) situated in Mariveles. They have lived there for a little over 20 years and they have always focused on fishing since then.  

Apart from fishing, Tatay Rene worked before in carpentry and civil work but stopped with carpentry due to his eyesight. As time passes by, he eventually decided to focus on fishing and net weaving while his wife is the homemaker though she would accompany him on his fishing trips. On months where taksay is in season, usually around November to December, they would focus their efforts on fishing. 

“It’s hard to go fishing these days. You can only leave it up to chance.” Back then, they didn’t need to go far. But eventually, fishing has become less and less lucrative over the years for him and the other fishermen. There are days when their catch is only enough for the day’s meals, and there are days when there are none. Sometimes, they go for days without earning anything at all. Raising four children who are still in school is a challenge for Tatay Rene given the situation. With not much to sell or eat, it would be hard to provide for their food, let alone send them to school properly. 

The development near them are major contributing factors to their day-to-day. A pier was established in 2017 near the sitio, and has been operational in 2019. While many of the ships are cargo vessels, some of them are fishing vessels too. The construction of the pier also somehow limited the areas where they can fish and also contributed to the decline of the fish population near the sitio. 

Additionally, Tatay Rene also noted the pollution that increased over the years that also affected their fishing. He surmised that pollution from the ships traversing the area affected the abundance of fish in their shores. Waste management is also hard to access in their area, and there is a lack of knowledge and practice related to recycling and waste disposal. Aside from the pollution from the nearby pier, the waste from the sitio and other nearby communities could contaminate their food source and cause disease from their water source. 


Tatay Rene’s family has participated in the FSP for around two to three years as of writing. They receive financial assistance as well as livelihood assistance. Three of his children are in high school while his eldest is aiming to be a marine engineer. “SOS’s support has been a huge help because now we’re able to let our children continue their studies.” 

Many families like Tatay Rene’s struggle to provide for their children due to circumstance. Through the FSP, we support struggling families through financial, livelihood, and educational assistance until the families can stand on their own. Thanks to your support, we can help families be self-sufficient and in turn, be able to care for their children through FSP. Visit to help these families reach self-sufficiency. 


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