Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF) took its PuhunangPangkabuhayan Project to its coastal community partner in Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, donating bicycles, pocket Wi-Fis, sewing and edging machines, and Smart retailer kits for the establishment of alternative livelihood programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kickstarting Alternative Livelihood
Most of MPIF’s coastal community partners depend on tourism as a source of income. Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte was even named one of Time magazine’s 100 unique destinations featured in its “The World’s Greatest Places of 2021”. However, the heightened restrictions and the strictly imposed lockdowns jeopardized this sector, forcing employees to search for other means to provide for their families. To augment this, MPIF sought to empower and give these individuals a source of stability against the looming uncertainty.
“The pandemic has brought several challenges upon us that drastically jeopardized the livelihood of our countrymen, particularly in remote areas like our municipality,” says Mayor Proserfina Coro. “Programs such as MPIF’s PuhunangPangkabuhayan empower our locals to rise amid the obstacles and move forward.”
In a turnover last July 20, MPIF President Melody del Rosario presented 10 bikes, 10 Smart pocket Wi-Fi units, 10 Smart retailer kits, three sewing machines and two edging machines to beneficiaries in the municipality, alongside Municipal Mayor Engr. Proserfina M. Coro and Municipal Vice Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II. Beneficiaries included fishermen, salespersons, and construction laborers. The Del Carmen Women’s Association will be the sole beneficiary of the sewing machines, while the bicycles will be used for Del Carmen’s Mangrove Walk.
“MPIF has always been a reliable partner of the municipality and we are truly blessed to be part of a project that aims to get our people back on their feet,” says Vice Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II. “As a testament to our endless gratitude, we have passed the Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No 166, Series of 2021 – a resolution expressing heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and the Metro Pacific Investments Foundation for the support extended to the Municipality of Del Carmen”.
Strengthening Green Jobs
“Del Carmen was strategically planned to be the site of Puhunang Pangkabuhayan’s next leg, primarily because we are renewing our commitment to the municipality through strengthening our Mangrove Eco-guides program,” says MPIF President Melody del Rosario. “The provision of alternative livelihood tools for more members of their community reinforces our long-standing partnership and creates a more holistic impact leading towards one of our most successful collaborations.”
The Mangrove eco-guides, who serve as ambassadors of the Mangrove Centers in Del Carmen, is part of MPIF’s thrust towards green livelihoods – incentivizing people to take care of the environment to serve as their security against the constant worry of providing food on their tables.
The commitment to strengthening green jobs, creating alternative livelihood opportunities, and reinforcing environmental sustainability through Shore It Up! is aligned with MPIC’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 1 No Poverty, 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 13 Climate Action, 14 Life Below Water, 15 Life on Land, and 17 Partnerships for the Goals. It is also in support of the United Nations’ Decade of Ecosystem Restorationwhich aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.
Reinforcing Environmental Sustainability
Establishing alternative livelihood programs and green jobs are MPIF’s measures towards achieving environmental sustainability. Contributory to this is the high value the Foundation places on the conservation and protection of existing resources, primarily of marine and coastal ecosystems.
To further its purpose of environmental stewardship, MPIF has recently announced the appointment of Mr. Marlito “Mar” Guidote to its Board as an Independent Trustee. His expertise in environmental protection working alongside the PNP Maritime, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, other government agencies and NGOs, and several coastal communities will boost MPIF’s objective of environmental protection, primarily focusing on safeguarding the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in its partner sites.
Mr. Guidote’s guidance will be most apparent in the Marine Protection, Inspection, and Conservation (MPIC) Guardians Program in other SIU sites such as Medina, Misamis Oriental; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, and soon, in the province of Marinduque. Beyond this, his extensive experience in coastal resource management will help ensure the proper management of marine ecosystems along with coastal areas in all partner communities.
His onboarding will play an integral role in developing existing programs that benefit all MPIF’s coastal community partners and will contribute to the prolonged success of all SIU’s initiatives.
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