Mercy Relief and Filipino partners revive ecosystems for Zambales’s coastal communities with integrated livelihood, water sanitation, healthcare & ecotourism projects
Rampant poverty and the lack of economic diversification due to environmental degradation triggered by improper management of natural resources, natural disasters due to climate change and limitation of rural development funds in the province of Zambales, Philippines motivated Singapore-born humanitarian NGO Mercy Relief (MR) to engage itself at the coastal district of Palauig and Candelaria. Working with local partner SIKAT and local village support groups, the NGO strived to improve the living conditions of the disadvantaged communities while preserving their natural habitat.
“Having identified the developmental potential that could lead to vast livelihood opportunities in the coastal areas of Zambales province, our partners and Mercy Relief were motivated to introduce integrated sustainable livelihoods enhancement and environmental and nature preservation projects for the fishing communities in the Municipality of Candelaria and Palauig,” said MR’s Chairman T K Udairam at the launch ceremony. The two sustainable development projects were implemented with a community-driven approach to promote community ownership and cohesiveness in improving the villagers’ socio-economic and environmental situations amidst adapting to hostile climatic conditions.
Explaining the concept of a community-led project, Mr Udairam elaborated that “since operating in the Philippines the last two years with activities that include disaster relief efforts after the onslaught of Typhoons Ketsana and Morakot in 2009, Mercy Relief had witnessed the resilience and determination of the Filipinos to work together for communal benefit, thus making each project an impetus for a concerted effort towards holistic developmental progress.” In Candelaria, MR and SIKAT worked with the Management Committee of Uacon Eco-Tourism (MCULET) to introduce an integrated sustainable livelihoods enhancement and environmental and nature preservation project for the fishing community in the Municipality of Candelaria. The eco-tourism project that stemmed from the construction of environment friendly infrastructures which include an ecology centre, eco trail and bird watching centre at the lake was developed with the aim to rehabilitate the natural resources of Uacon Lake and improve the economic conditions of the communities that are resource dependent on its yields. In order to curb human-led environment degradation and in tandem promote community participation in environmental preservation, the project will be managed & sustained by local villagers.
Over in Palauig, MR introduced an integrated a livelihood programme that includes inter alia construction of water systems, toilets and communal washing areas, mangrove reforestation project, fish and oyster farming, herbal farming and reestablishing and equipping the barangay’s health centre. With the support of local village support groups – SAKALI, MALAYA and MASIKAP, Mercy Relief was able to fulfill its aim to improve access to better healthcare and livelihood for the people, as well as improve supply of clean water for household and sanitation use.
The two community-driven projects that were implemented successfully with the support of the local communities and authorities of Zambales province cost SGD $238,571 in total and would benefit over 5,000 villagers.
For more information, please contact
Siti Sayadi / Selene Ong
94577527 / 91066108