By: Jia Jarin
World Wide Fund (WWF) Philippines advances its values on sustainability and support for its partner communities through its Build Back Better campaign— a program that provides immediate and long-term recovery for our Bicol fishing communities.
Our Philippine fisherfolk are among the poorest sectors in the country and vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In 2020 alone, three consecutive typhoons devastated Lagonoy Gulf, heavily affecting fifteen municipalities’ homes and their means of livelihood, their boats.
Since 2011, the support of the WWF network has brought the fishing communities in Lagonoy Gulf to where they are today: establishing the country’s first sustainable Marine Stewardship Council-certified handline tuna fishery. WWF-Philippines aims to further strengthen their resilience through replacing the wooden fishing boats that were lost or damaged during the typhoons.
WWF hopes to raise Php 21 million to deliver 27 units of the Build Back Better boats— upgraded fishing boats to withstand increasing storm intensities and help maintain the quality of fishes catched, co-designed by industrial designer Mark Victor Bautista and the tuna fishermen.
One new boat is equivalent in capacity to three traditional fishing boats, and would translate to support for more than 200 families in 15 municipalities in the Lagonoy Gulf area.
Pia Wurtzbach and Jeremy Jauncey have also joined efforts to improve the livelihood of Bicol fishing communities. The WWF ambassadors recently met with the Lagonoy Gulf fishermen and saw firsthand how much the project is uniting the communities and giving them the opportunity to build back better lives.
“The hope for us is that the content we put out and us lending our voices to the campaign will get through a whole new demographic of people who then realize that actually there is something they can do, even if it’s a very small donation, they can be supporting these fisherfolk and they can then have a massively outsized impact.” added Jeremy Jauncey.
“As WWF, we’re committed to changing the ending for our country. If the state of our environment were moving, we already know that we’re headed for an ending that no one wants. Through this Build Back Better Boats campaign and the broader work on sustainable fisheries that it supports, we hope that even more people will join us on this journey to change the ending.” said Ms. Katherine Custodio, WWF-Philippines Executive Director.
You can support WWF’s Build Back Better campaign for the Bicol fishing communities by donating through Pia and Jeremy’s fundraising page here.
Featured photos from WWF-Philippines, Magic Liwanag and Mark Bautista