When we seek out whom we should help through various data-gathering processes, we do not ask their political persuasions, neither their religious beliefs, creed and gender, or their cultural inclinations. We select beneficiaries on the basis of needs alone.
Among similar victims of the same disaster, there will always be among them who are more vulnerable, more disadvantaged, more marginalized. Among the poor, there will always be the poorer ones. Among the poorer ones, there will always be the poorest. The poorest of the poor – it is them we seek in crisis situations where we respond.
Helping should be empowering.
We do not condone doling-out. We always ask first what they need. We also ask what they can do. Then we match our resources with their expressed needs and what they could contribute. Our helping should build on what they have. They should have a stake, and not just end up as passive recipients. They agreed to repay 40% to finance new boats for those who are not served yet.
We have to respect the cultural practices of a community we are helping. We have to appreciate their way of life so that helping will not be invasive. Beneficiaries can teach us a lot how we can best help them.
Once these repaired or new boats are turned over, there would be agreements that they would not employ destructive fishing practices.
We cannot do all these by ourselves. The problem of rebuilding is so huge that it needs an equally huge response. We have been inviting partners to make a more significant and lasting impact.
We will insulate the project implementation from any influence-peddling dynamics so that assistance will directly reach those in need.
We have a bias for long-term solutions. The provision of fishing boat is a short-term rehabilitation of the small fisherfolks’ livelihood. The long-term response is the rehabilitation of their fishery resource base which is continuously depleted due to illegal encroachment of commercial fishing vessels and unregulated destructive fishing practices.