AirAsia Philippines and Liter of Light have partnered to provide sustainable solar light powered bottles to underprivileged communities in Zamboanga City—the airline's latest local destination.
Present during the turnover ceremony at the Zamboanga International Airport were AirAsia Philippines spokesman Steve Dailisan, Liter of Light founding chairman Illac Diaz, Zamboanga City Vice Mayor Rommel Agan, Ateneo Center for Community Extension Services Director Loreta Sta.Teresa, Program Officer Al-Fatima Ahiyal, and Sama Bangigi chieftain Nasir Ismula.
The solar-powered light bottles which can light up an area of up to 50 square meters for 14 hours will be distributed to the 65 family beneficiaries belonging to the Subanon and Sama Bangigi tribes from Simariki Island, Barangay Talon-talon in Zamboanga City.
The Subanon and Sama Bangigi tribes were among the indigenous communities heavily affected by the 2013 Zamboanga siege.
Simariki Island was one of the most devastated areas, as the incident resulted in the community’s destruction, and loss of livelihood and community structures, leaving them at ground zero.
With the community’s main source of income centered on fishing and seaweed farming, lighting is a necessity to aid them in their livelihood and education, especially at night.
The challenge of not having electricity in houses on stilts has been severely aggravated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"The 2013 Zamboanga siege was a difficult time, especially for our Muslim brothers and sisters. These bottles shall illuminate not only their homes but their lives, as it gives hope that there is indeed a better and brighter future for all of us," said AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla.
"AirAsia is indeed grateful to have partnered with Liter of Light in providing support and assistance to indigenous communities who are in need. We are with you and this is just the start. We look forward to continuing our mission of lighting it forward,” he added.
“We thank AirAsia and Liter of Light for bringing us these liters of hope. Hope because this will significantly help our livelihood and will aid our children who study at night. We are grateful because although we are far, you made us feel that we are remembered," said local chieftain Nasir Ismula.
Liter of Light founding chairman Illac Diaz said technology transfer is important to make the initiative sustainable.
"The purest form of helping is to make yourself obsolete. With AirAsia, we are not only providing the initial materials for building Solar Lights and Public Lights, but also transferring technology and know-how to Zamboanga so that slowly, these green technologies can start here in parallel," Diaz said.
“Energy poverty must be decentralized and localized to where the community needs to be empowered. Thanks to AirAsia, we can now bring our workshops down to the South,” he added.
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