It is easy to forget about your worries and woes when you are confronted with the majestic views of the oceans and rock formations. But as we docked at the shores of Barangay Nagasagan in Masbate, the reality was very different.
A daily view of the fishermen out at sea in the wee hours of the morning
I was greeted by the loving and kind smile of Neice Lateda. Despite our language barrier, I felt her anxiety over the future of her children and grandchildren.
Necie looking on her grandchildren playing in the sand
During the stay, we managed to speak to her son, Arnel, to learn more about his life and the impact of climate change on him.
As the sole breadwinner, Arnel spends his nights out at sea hoping to have enough catch to put food on the table. Beneath his kind face was a man who constantly worried about the future of his family.
Arnel Letada with his family
Dwindling fish stocks and climate change have drastically reduced his earnings as a fisherman. More than three-quarters of his earnings, averaging S$4 per day, is spent on drinking water, kerosene and petrol for his boat. Whatever is left is spent on buying one kilogram of rice. This leaves little to set aside for emergencies.
When asked if there is enough to feed his family three square meals a day, he only laughed while saying that it will be lucky if they can do just that.
Arnel’s situation is not unique. Numerous families in this region now face the same predicament.
Climate change is happening and our poorest are hardest hit. According to the World Bank, the effects are set to push another 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
Escaping poverty will be even harder for communities with little or no climate resilience, as they would have little resources to recover from shocks.
For fishermen like Arnel, their livelihoods will be disrupted if there is a sudden storm. At WWF-Singapore, we aim to build climate resilience for 75 households and 450 people living in this region.
A villager fetching water from a nearby village in their boat
With provision for container farming, rainwater harvesting and solar lighting, the Letada family can reduce recurring costs and shift their expenditure to critical household needs and provide education for their children.
Before we left the sitio, I gave Necie a hug and I gave her my word that we will come back and help her family and community.
Necie sobbing during our chat about her hopes and dreams for her grandchildren
The impacts of climate change are real and it is happening around us. Time after time, you have shown that the collective action of WWF supporters can help us meet this important milestone for our work. Your support offers hope that together, we can change climate change and change lives.
Please spread this message among your loved ones so that more people can learn about the realities in Masbate, and the adverse impact of climate change on poor communities.
Thank you for your time.
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