The Good Samaritan: Filipino Fishing Advocate Ensures Food Security Amid Community Lockdowns

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Since Daniel joined the USAID-supported peer educators group, who now call themselves Eco-Warriors, Daniel has organized information campaigns to promote sustainable and resilient fisheries.
USAID

When Filipino fisherman Daniel Javier joined a USAID-supported peer educators’ group to advocate for good fishing practices in Coron, Palawan, he just wanted to help his fellow fisherfolk. Little did he know just how much an impact he would have.

A few months after Daniel joined the peer educators’ group, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Philippines. Several villages on his island were placed under strict lockdown, and fisherfolk from those areas could not go out to sea. Seeing his fellow fisherfolk without a sustainable source of food or livelihood during the lockdown, Daniel rose to the challenge and mobilized his group to help.

“Donations of dried fish came in no time,” said Daniel. “I appreciated their quick response to my call. Our fellow fisherfolk are the ones to thank.”

Naming his call for donations “Mangingisda para sa Mangingisda,” or Fishermen for the Fishermen, Daniel collected 150 kilograms of dried fish and distributed them to six villages under lockdown.

Daniel has been a fisherman for the past 12 years and is also the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council chair for his village. “But it is in being a peer educator that I find so much fulfillment,” he said.

Since he joined the USAID-supported peer educators group, who now call themselves Eco-Warriors, Daniel has organized information campaigns to promote sustainable and resilient fisheries.

“I have learned a lot of things as a peer educator. To date, I have shared this knowledge with more than 100 peers through informal discussions, which I find quite effective as opposed to formal assemblies,” said Daniel.

He also recommended that the village ban the use of plastic when fishing, mobilized community members to participate in discussions on enforcement-related activities like community watch teams, and helped design the Marine Protected Area Network. In addition, he leads coastal clean-ups and continues to supervise his village’s volunteer catch monitoring team, which checks whether fish of the right size were caught in the right way. These activities help ensure a sustainable source of food and livelihood for his village.

There are now more than 400 Eco-Warriors in the Calamianes, organized by USAID in partnership with the Palawan Council Sustainable Development, PATH Foundation Philippines Inc., Culion Foundation, and Community-Centred Conservation Philippines. USAID, through its Fish Right Program, regularly provides these champions with the information they need to educate their peers.

The same passion for helping his fellow fisherfolk that led Daniel to organize food distribution during the lockdowns continues to motivate him in his work as an Eco-Warrior and peer educator.

“Because I am a fisherman, I know the fisheries situation in our locality. Through my experience as a peer educator, I would like to believe that I have become innovative and made a difference, no matter how small, when it comes to helping my fellow fisherfolk,” Daniel said.

Last updated: December 01, 2021

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