Covid-19 and competing crises in the Philippines

Fishing communities in Luzon
Ilocos farmers set up Peoples Covid-19 Response to communicate the needs of fishing communities in Luzon.

Ammoyo or ‘bayanihan’ in Iloco refers to the ‘community spirit’ of helping one another in times of need.

We are seeing two competing crises around the world: the Covid-19 pandemic and the suffering of poor and vulnerable communities that is exacerbated by lockdown restrictions.

Communities can quickly be cut off from basic needs and suffer hugely as a consequence. People living on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, are no different: many of the 13,000 households are made up of fisherfolk who make a precarious living through daily fishing and trade.

‘Staying at home’ has put a stop to this, forcing many households to go hungry. 


Ammoyo Volunteers have made a video to highlight the struggles of fishing communities in Luzon and the lack of government support they have received.

In response, local people have driven their own campaign, Ammoyo: Ilocos Peoples Covid-19 Response.

Ammoyo or ‘bayanihan’ in Iloco refers to the ‘community spirit’ of helping one another in times of need, which Ilocos farmers practice. It is an immediate response to the health and economic challenges that the crisis has brought about, especially with the unprepared declaration of the national government of the Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ and lockdown. 

The group was established to facilitate and quickly communicate people’s demands and responses to the crisis so that local government units, non-governmental entities, organisations and groups could assist them immediately.

It also evolved into raising various support including relief generation and delivery to communities hit hard by the lockdown including the fisherfolks, farming communities, Indigenous Peoples, women, young children and senior citizens.

This Author

Grace Hutchison is the programme development officer at InsightShare. Grace manages pathways of learning and exchange across the network, working closely with InsightShare’s participatory video hubs. This article is part of InsightShare's COVID-19: Indigenous Insights campaign.

Jen Awingan has previously worked with InsightShare on Participatory Video projects based in the Philippines. Now, she is working with the Ammoyo Volunteers to create videos documenting the struggles of fishing communities in Luzon and raising awareness for their self-organised relief programme.

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