The Christmas spirit was deeply felt by local fisherfolks in Southern Cebu a year and four days after the rage of Typhoon Odette. 

Dedicated to support local fishermen and promote community resilience, BPI Foundation Inc. (BPIF), in partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., through its Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response (RAFI HDPR) program, donated 41 motorized fiber glass fishing boats to selected fisherfolk associations from Sibonga, Barili, Pinamungajan, and Alcantara, Cebu last December 19 and 20, 2022. 

The Balik Bugsay Program provides fishing boats to support the livelihood of fisherfolk communities that have been heavily affected by Typhoon Odette.  After thorough review, assessment, and interviews conducted by the RAFI HDPR, the following fisherfolk organizations were supported by the program:

After a year of struggling to be back in the waters, fishermen can now set sail in their own fishing boats. 

For Jimmy Eseguerra, a recipient of one of the fishing boats in Sibonga Cebu, the aftermath of Typhoon Odette left him in a tough and disheartening situation. His fishing boat was completely destroyed after Typhoon Odette rammed into his home, leaving him unable to provide for his family while facing an uncertain future. He had to settle with borrowing other people's boats or joining them in fishing trips just to get by.

“Dako kaayo akong kalipay, labi na usa ko sa beneficiary sa maong tabang nga diin makarecover mi ug balik sa among panginabuhi-an nga diin dili nami mosakay sa lahi na sakayan. Usa pod, maka bubo nami balik sa panudlanan sa kapunongan tali sa maong tabang. (…) Kami, kalipay namong dako nga bisan dako ang kadaot diri sa among kapungongan, nagpasalamat mi nga ang Ginoo nag tan-aw gyod namo ug unsa ang among kinahanglan ug adunay gyoy grasya nga nadawat,” Jimmy expressed. (“I am filled with great happiness because I am one of the beneficiaries who are granted the opportunity to recover our livelihood. Through this help, we won’t have to join in other people’s fishing trips, and we can finally revive our association’s funds. We are greatly happy that despite the immense damage, God has been looking out for us and has provided us these blessings.”)    

As the social development arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, BPIF, through the Balik Bugsay project, hopes to pursue their advocacy of Bayanihan, partnering with like-minded institutions like RAFI, to equip local associations and individuals to be economically disaster resilient by providing them with tools to recover and restore their livelihood. 

 “Kami sa BPI Foundation, kauban ang RAFI, nalipay sa oportunidad nga makahatag ninyo ug galamiton alang sa panginabuhi nga makatabang sa inyong pagpadayon pagkahuman sa bagyo.  Tinguha sa BPI Foundation nga molambo ang matag pamilya lakip na kamong mananagat nga dako ug kontribusyon sa atuang komunidad ug ekonomiya,” said Juvylyn Reniva, Associate Director of BPI Foundation.  (“We in BPI Foundation, together with RAFI, are happy with this opportunity to give you tools for livelihood that will help move forward after the typhoon.  It is our aspiration for every family to progress, including the fisherfolk who greatly contribute to our community and economy.”)

Similarly, with its ongoing initiatives for rehabilitation and recovery, RAFI HDPR continues to support different sectors in the community that still have not recovered from the aftereffects of Typhoon Odette.

“Kami sa RAFI, aduna kami panultihon nga, Padayon sa Pagbugsay. Karon, ania kami isip tulay gikan ni BPI gipaambit namo kining Balik Bugsay project para maabot ning mga bangka diri, para makapadayon kamo sa pagbugsay sa kinabuhi ug sa inyong panginabuhi-an. Nanghinaot mi nga kining atong mga bangka nga madawat atong gamiton para mas mo lambo ang atong asosasyon ug mas mo nindot ang atong komunidad. Ang among sab nga panglantaw, dili lang ni siya mao ang katapusan natong panagkita, sugod palang ni sa mga umaabot na suporta pinaagi sa mga adbokasiya nga among gibuhat para sa mga Komunidad,” said Pet John Rom, HDPR Head (At RAFI, we have a saying that goes, Padayon sa Pagbugsay! Today, we are here to serve as a bridge from BPI Foundation to you for this Balik Bugsay project, bringing in these fishing boats for you to keep paddling and revive your livelihood. We hope that with the use of these fishing boats, we will see a flourishing fishing association and a vibrant community. We see this as the beginning of the support that we can further give through the advocacies that we have for the community).



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