RICHARD V. DUMILAG | MAE H. SAN PABLO | MARK ARIEL D. MALTO | MABILLE R. LONGAVELA | ELDEN G. ORGELA | TERESA HAIDE R. BELGICA | LYNN C. MENDOZA | JANET M. HIBAY | JINKY D. BAILON | LAURENCE ELMER H. CORRAL | FRANKLIN P. CALAMINOS | ANNIE T. OMOTO | VIVIEN L. CHUA | LENY D. BERDIN
The enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic has led authorities to seek strategies that collect information essential for future health system planning as well as disaster and pandemic preparedness. Focusing on the food security and income situation at a local-scale is all the more imperative given that the municipal fisherfolk has a huge role in the development and success of the Philippine fisheries sector. Here, we turn to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food security and income of municipal fisherfolk in Magallanes, Sorsogon, Philippines. Our survey data from 475 respondents suggested that the fisherfolk households in Magallanes during the COVID-19 crisis, generally experienced food insecurity without hunger. Using the 18- item questionnaire of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), we identified specific sites that experienced severe food security condition with emphasis on households with dependent members. A significant association based on correlation analysis was found between the level of food security condition and the number of households and year in occupation. Magallanes fisherfolk reacted variously to several challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. Fish availability and demand, and vulnerability to diseases were issues nugatory for the fisherfolk in Magallanes, however, problems directly associated with price increase were identified as impactful (i.e. lack of capital and high cost of supplies/inputs). Difficulties brought by travel restrictions and social distancing were particularly felt by traders and vendors. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the pandemic has compounded the food security and income disadvantages in fisherfolk of Magallanes. We hope that our study sets the foundation to improve the food security monitoring in fisheries households elsewhere in the Philippines (i.e. detect what specific population suffer and where they are), as well as future decisions for emergency management.