To help uplift the livelihood of fishers in Bicol, the World Wide Fund (WWF)-Philippines has launched the “Build Back Better” boats campaign, which aims to provide free fishing vessels to residents of the region that rely on the fishing industry for employment. 

The conservation organization wants to raise PHP21 million in funding to provide around 27 fishing boats to fishermen in the Lagonoy Gulf area, one of PH’s major fishing grounds that surround the Bicol Peninsula.

Industrial designer Mark Victor Bautista, who also works as a tuna fisherman, co-designed the “Build Back Better” boat, which combines “traditional know-how and state of the art or best practice design technology.”

The boat, to be built with a combination of fiberglass and steel for improving sturdiness and strength against storms, will be equivalent in capacity to three traditional fishing boats. 

The project is expected to support more than 200 families residing in 15 municipalities within the Lagonoy Gulf area.

WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio hopes for the expansion of the “Build Back Better” campaign so it can help more people, organizations, and communities. 

“Our experience working with the Lagonoy Gulf fishers validates a model for sustainable fishing that has improved community livelihood. We all need to support communities that are at the forefront of addressing environmental issues,” Custodio shared. 

WWF-Philippines vows to continue finding and developing ways to support fisherfolks in Bicol, specifically those in the Lagonoy Gulf, who they’ve been assisting for over a decade now. 

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Image credit: WWF-Philippines