Philippines

FundLife joins Local CSOs in Cebu, Philippines to Call for Greater Support and Direct Grassroots Funding from INGOs and Wider Humanitarian Sector

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FundLife is proud to be a contributor and signatory to the following open letter. Since our inception in 2014, FundLife has campaigned and led bottom-up development, support local communities through direct programming, access to funding and knowledge sharing. We are proud to add our name to Zero Extreme Poverty (ZEP) 2030 Cebu Convergence Network. The full letter is shared below;

The ​Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP) Cebu Convergence, consists of local Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), People’s Organizations (POs), private institutions, and sectoral groups, is requesting the support of international organizations, humanitarian funding institutions and networks to provide assistance to our collective actions in addressing the needs of the vulnerable communities in Metro Cebu amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases remains to threaten the country. As of July 21, there are already more than 68,000 confirmed cases and at least 1,800 deaths. The pandemic has become a major health crisis worldwide and in the Philippines. It has already caused detrimental effects to the country’s healthcare system and has exhausted the government’s resources. social distancing, self-isolation and travel restrictions – measures imposed to curb the outbreak have left at least 7.3 million Filipinos who lost their jobs during the lockdown (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2020). Seemingly, after months of quarantine protocols, many local government units have started to ease out quarantine restrictions – except for Cebu City.

As of July 20, 2020, there are 9,132 cases of COVID-19 in the major cities of Cebu, particularly in Cebu City, Talisay City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and the Municipality of Cordova according to the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Tracker. While the rest of these cities are already under General Community Quarantine’ status, Cebu City is the only remaining local government unit in the country under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).Most of its barangays (villages) are under “localized hard lockdown” as a way to implement the stay-at-home rule to contain the virus. Albeit that businesses and public transportation are already allowed under this status, they are limited, and employment and economic activities of daily wage earners and informal workers remain affected.

In a recent survey carried out by ZEP Cebu Convergence in May 2020 to determine the impact of COVID-19 and the community quarantine protocols to families in Metro Cebu, 84% of the 6,616 surveyed households indicated that they had a decreased income during the lockdown, and 43% of them experienced skipping meals during the quarantine period. The survey result reaffirms the priority agenda identified by ZEP in improving the lives of severely affected communities due to COVID-19, to wit:

Nutrition and Food Security

  • Provide sustainable food sources for families living below the poverty line.
  • Improve the delivery of food services by supporting small businesses and transport groups.
  • Provide support by conducting trainings or providing information and inputs such as soil, water supply system, small pots, and other materials for urban gardening and ecological agriculture for urban poor, coastal, and small island communities.
  • Provide immediate assistance to the homeless through provision of centers with adequate supply of food and water
  • Provide immediate assistance to families by distributing food packs through government and non-government organizations.

Healthcare

  • Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontliners and medical practitioners to protect themselves against the virus.
  • Provide logistical assistance in the hospitals and quarantine centers by supplying hospital beds, respirators, testing kits, and additional facilities.
  • Provide support in disseminating information throughout the poor communities in every barangays by supplying printed information packets regarding healthcare and education.
  • Improve board and lodging facilities for augmented frontline health care workers.

Education

  • Provide support in training and workshops for teachers and instructors as well as parents and community leaders regarding remote learning
  • Provide play-base modules for parents with children under Early Education.
  • Provide solutions to problems on lack of gadgets, internet connection, and alternative learning delivery modalities
  • Provide information, education, and communication channels during the pandemic, such as the blended learning approach, online learning, school enrolment process, and other school-related activities.

Child Nutrition and Protection

  • Provide care packages for children with nutritious food, age appropriate toys, and hygiene items.
  • Provide mental health and psychosocial support for children in highly vulnerable communities.
  • Provide better support for adolescents against online exploitation, trafficking, and other forms of abuse.
  • Provide learning assistance in the early, primary, and secondary levels to help children address circumstances that may be related to abuse and other vulnerable circumstances.

Since the declaration of the state of public health emergency last March 2020 while many local organizations, including members of the ZEP Cebu Convergence, have been acting on-ground to supplement the government’s relief efforts in providing aid to quarantined families, isolated individuals, and frontliners. Yet the prolonged implementation of lockdown has exhausted the

resources available both from the government and the private organizations. With the uncertainties of vaccine development, and concrete plans for post-quarantine recovery, heightened insecurities especially among low-income families continue. If these are left unaddressed, these could push them deeper into extreme poverty and greater difficulty.

In this light, the ZEP2030 Cebu Convergence, calls for a more concerted effort in responding to the immediate and long-term needs of vulnerable families. In addition, the convergence requests the international and national organizations, humanitarian funding institutions, and networks to provide support and resources to enable local organizations to continue implementing initiatives that will make a positive contribution in building a more livable, safe, healthy and resilient urban communities.

The Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP) Cebu Convergence, which was convened in Cebu last August 2019, aims to uplift 1 million families from extreme poverty to self-sufficiency. The convergence which started as a CSO-led national movement in the country in 2015, is working to continue the provision of support to the severely affected communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Metro Cebu.

ZEP2030 Cebu Convergence
July 20, 2020

Contributors and signatories to the letter;

  • Central Visayas Network of NGOs (CENVISNET), Talisay City, Cebu
  • Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc. (FORGE), Cebu City, Cebu
  • Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI), Cebu City, Cebu
  • A2D Project-Research Group for Alternatives to Development, Inc, Cebu City, Cebu
  • ImPACT, Cebu City, Cebu
  • Coalition for Better Education, Inc. (CBE), Cebu City, Cebu
  • University of Southern Philippines Foundation - Community Extension Services (USPF-CES) Cebu City, Cebu
  • FundLife Philippines, Mandaue City, Cebu