The Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI), together with its social development arm BPI Foundation, is foregoing its traditional Christmas gifts for clients to extend help to local fisherfolks affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
BPI Foundation recently created the “Sulong Pinoy” program in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) that aims to elevate the lives of our marginalized and underserved kababayans. For the pilot run, beneficiaries will be select fisherfolk communities from Bicol and Occidental Mindoro who rely on catching tuna for income and food but have been negatively impacted by quarantine protocols and the recent typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
The “Sulong Pinoy” program aims to provide technological and logistical equipment, and establish foodsheds, which are expected to benefit at least 7,800 low-income tuna fishermen from Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait. Additionally, there will be capacity-building sessions on foodshed management and financial literacy sessions to help beneficiaries cope with their difficulties.
“Even before the pandemic, our tuna fishermen were being left behind. The lockdowns hit them especially hard, and the recent successive typhoons made it even more challenging for them to fish and sell their catch, leaving them with no income most of the time,” said BPI Foundation Director Owen Cammayo. “We are committed to help improve their situation by enabling and capacitating them to adapt their livelihood to the current conditions.”
For BPI President and CEO Cezar P. Consing, it’s about making this year’s Christmas more meaningful by engaging clients to help thousands of tuna fishermen in the country. “It is our goal to continue playing a constructive role in nation-building. Through Sulong Pinoy, BPI will help uplift the lives of our hardworking fisherfolks while engaging our clients in a meaningful manner,” he said.
BPI will donate P2.5 million while BPI Foundation will give P3.0 million to the “Sulong Pinoy” program through Christmas e-cards, under the names of select clients. The total amount of P5.5 million will be turned over to WWF-Philippines within December and the program will be implemented in January 2021.
BPI Foundation has also given back to the Philippines’ uniformed men through financial wellness sessions.
To know more about BPI Foundation and its programs, visit www.bpifoundation.org.
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