Friday, August 27, 2021

AirAsia sends livelihood assistance to displaced Badjao tribes, ramps up cargo operations in Southern Mindanao


AirAsia Philippines today partners with the Asian Hospital Charities, Inc. (AHCI) in delivering much-needed help to displaced Badjao communities in Zamboanga as it also ramps up its cargo operations in Southern Mindanao.

17 boxes of sewing machines, pocket wi-fi units, AirAsia alwaysREDy care kits, and other AirAsia gift items arrived at Zamboanga International Airport via AirAsia flight Z2-651 Tuesday morning. The donations were intended to be distributed to Sama Central Badjao recipients of the Parhimpunan Almasihin Fellowship & Missions church in Baranggay Sangali, Pasobolong, Zambowood, Mercedez, Arena Blanco, Karagasan, Sinunuc, Sangali, Rio Hondo, Mulu-Muluan, Mampang, and Upper Clarian.

These sewing machines are expected to jumpstart livelihood projects and sustain Badjao communities in different barangays. Aided with technology, the recipients through the help of their organization intend to market their products through different online selling platforms.

80% of the recipients are living along the Mampang coastline, who were also victims of the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

This initiative coincides with the celebration of the International Day of the Indigenous Peoples and Philippine Indigenous People’s Day.

The Badjao tribe is an indigenous population whose culture and livelihood rely on the sea. Most of them live in small houseboats where they make a decent living as fishermen and expert navigators.  Those who were given the opportunity to live in the city meanwhile rely on vending as their skill is more inclined to fishing.

AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson Steve Dailisan said, “AirAsia is happy to partner with Asian Charities in bringing livelihood to our Badjao brothers and sisters. We believe this sustainable initiative will enable them to get through the pandemic as they expand market opportunities.”

Asian Hospital and Medical Center Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Kris Yabes meanwhile thanked AirAsia Philippines for immediately acting on their request.  “Any help especially now that we are in a health crisis is greatly appreciated. The sewing machines and pocket wifi’s will definitely help make a living for the displaced Badjao families. It’s more sustainable. It will not only provide for their daily needs but more importantly, we restore the dignity of the families,” she said.

AirAsia has been very supportive to various indigenious tribes in Southern Mindanao. In 2020, 65 family beneficiaries received solar powered lamps through its alwaysREDy to Light it forward project with Liter of Light.

Aside from utilizing its cargo operations for Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, AirAsia Philippines is expanding its commercial cargo operations through its logistics venture, Teleport in Zamboanga starting next month. This new venture is seen to bring in 4 tons of cargoes per day.

“Our expansion in terms of infrastructure development will allow us in AirAsia to fly in more goods and services as we strengthen our cargo operations in Zamboanga to cater to the demands of Southern Mindanao”, Dailisan added.

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