H.E. Luc Véron, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, is visiting Siargao Island from 15 to 18 August to monitor EU humanitarian aid and development projects and discuss the recovery with local officials and communities.
This is eight months following typhoon Odette (Rai) and the fourth outreach mission of Ambassador Véron to see realities on the ground while observing health protocols. Since last year, he went to development programmes in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Quezon province.
“I am pleased to visit Siargao for the first time to meet the people of this beautiful island and to see how our humanitarian and development programmes are able to help the island bounce back better after typhoon Odette”, said Ambassador Véron.
“I look forward to meeting with communities who are benefitting from our development and livelihood initiatives and also hear about the challenges they still face.”.
Ambassador Véron also pays tribute to the humanitarian aid workers and partners of the EU on the island.
“I commend our humanitarian aid workers for their relentless and altruistic effort in providing the most urgent humanitarian assistance to the communities in Siargao”, he said as his mission also coincides with the celebration of World Humanitarian Day which is celebrated every 19 August.
Ambassador Véron is visiting Caridad Elementary School in Pilar to talk with school officials and communities who have benefitted from programmes such as the Education in Emergencies, shelter repair, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection-related interventions of the EU. After the typhoon hit the island, the EU provided a multi-purpose learning space as a temporary venue for teaching and learning activities.
Together with humanitarian aid partners, he is also going to launch the photographic exhibition “The Last Mile” which aims to raise awareness about the impact of typhoon on communities in Siargao and other affected provinces and the achievements and challenges encountered by NGOs and humanitarian aid organisations in reaching the most vulnerable families in the island.
The EU Ambassador is also leading a ceremony to highlight a Solar Community Based Island Tourism and Livelihood Energizer Platform (SMILE) project implemented by the World Wide Fund in Anajawan Island. This SMILE project provides 24.7 renewable energy access to four remote island communities, develop sustainable eco-tourism opportunities and help mitigate the impact of climate change.
In line with the goal of reducing social and economic marginalisation, Ambassador Véron is visiting Sitio Campinganon, Barangay Maribojoc to interact with women fishers benefitting from the project “Enhancing Women Fishers’ Livelihood Opportunities in 34 Coastal Barangays of Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape Women Managed Areas” promoting women-led enterprises and women fishers’ active participation in the local management of protected areas. The project is implemented by SIKAT.
While in Siargao, he is also expected to meet with business leaders and local government executives including, Surigao del Norte Governor Lyndon Barbers, Pilar Mayor Maria Liza Resurreccion, General Luna Mayor Sol Matugas, San Benito Mayor Ma Gina Menil, and Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo Matugas Coro II.