Bagis: the story of Filipino fishermen

For hundreds of years and since the arrival of the Spanish settlers, the wealth of Negros island, located in the region of Western Visayas in the Philippines, comes from the sugar cane. Despite this fact, many communities along the coast are using fishing activities as the main source of income. The local fishermen, who are poor and have little access to education, have to sustain their own needs and the needs of a growing population in this country. Mainly equipped with basic bancas (small wooden boats), they have been using for decades fishing techniques, which are harmful for the marine ecosystems: such as blast fishing , cyanide fishing, overfishing. The destruction of mangroves (facilitating fish breeding) for logging and the pressure coming from commercial fishing boats (always better equipped and very often nearly illegal) lead to a critical situation both for the environment and the communities who depend on it.

Actions are being carried out nationally and locally by different actors, which sometimes collaborate on that matter: NGOs, environmentalists, governmental organizations, associations, universities and individuals who are genuine nature lovers. These initiatives are dedicated to help the whole society to become aware of the situation, take responsibility and ultimately change the overall attitudes. A legislative arsenal has already been in place for many years to legally protect the most vulnerable population against the intensive exploitation of natural resources by companies which have limited concerns regarding wealth sharing.

Because of all these reasons, Simon Olivieri, one of our HOST-NGO volunteer involved in the projects implemented in Bacolod City for over a year now, has decided to launch a documentary film project: Bagis, which means shark in the local dialect. To conduct this open and collaborative work, Simon is supported by a team of four Filipinos, who are helping him to prepare and meet the local communities, and involve the persons who will be displayed in this documentary. Ebrahim Diallo, a French photographer, will join them for the shooting to be held over 25 days next November.

The movie will be an actual journey designed to meet with the communities who are facing these issues. It will also be the opportunity to introduce the actors who are helping them to improve their life by offering diversified livelihood activities and broadcasting useful information: on topics such as eco-tourism, sustainable fish farming techniques, better production management, enforcement of existing laws and environmental awareness. The project’s main objective is to highlight the stories of those who refrain from accepting poor living conditions and struggle to offer a better future for the next generations.

The project is mainly produced by Simon and Ebrahim but they need extra support from everyone wishing to help them covering the living costs during the shooting: transportation, accommodation, food and boat rental for a team of six members. To become a movie co-producer and find more information, click here: http://www.touscoprod.com/fr/project/shareActuality?id=3970

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Support program for vulnerable children and families in Bacolod City

The objective is to design and implement a development program supporting the disadvantaged members of the community of Bacolod City, Philippines. This approach is based on the observation of best practices identified in various projects implemented in Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world. The program aims at providing rehabilitation opportunities to isolated children and families in order to facilitate their successful integration into the local community. This includes dealing with social inclusion, socioeconomic development, public health, sustainable production and consumption, as well as green technologies.