EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron (Photo courtesy of the EU)

MANILA – The European Union (EU) is set to boost its humanitarian and development assistance projects in Siargao through a four-day visit to the island by its envoy to the Philippines.

In a media bulletin on Monday, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron will monitor EU humanitarian aid and development projects as well as discuss recovery with local government officials and communities during his visit from Monday to Thursday.

“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 programs are able to help the island bounce back better after Typhoon Odette,” Véron said.

The visit is his fourth outreach mission in the country and comes eight months after Typhoon Odette.

“I look forward to meeting with communities who are benefitting from our development and livelihood initiatives and also hearing about the challenges they still face,” he said.

During his outreach, he will talk with local government officials and community leaders and discuss local EU programs for education, shelter, repair, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection-related interventions.

In partnership with humanitarian aid providers, the EU is set to launch a photographic exhibition titled “The Last Mile” to raise awareness about the impact of typhoons on communities in Siargao and other areas that suffered under the onslaught of “Odette”.

During the four-day tour, he will visit Caridad Elementary School in Pilar, 34 coastal barangays to interact with women fishers, and lead the Solar Community Based Island Tourism and Livelihood Energizer Platform (SMILE) project in Anajawan Island.

His visit to women fishers aims to reduce social and economic marginalization by promoting women-led enterprises and their active participation in the local management of protected areas through a project implemented by Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya Inc.

On the other hand. the SMILE project is implemented by the World Wide Fund and aims to provide “24/7” renewable energy access to four remote island communities, develop sustainable eco-tourism opportunities, and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

While in Siargao, he is scheduled to meet with business leaders and local government officials including Surigao del Norte Governor Lyndon Barbers, Pilar Mayor Maria Liza Resureccion, General Luna Mayor Sol Matugas, San Benito Mayor Maria Gina Menil, and Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo Matugas Coro II. (PNA)