Livelihood Analysis of Communities Affected by the Solar I Oil Spill in Guimaras Island


by: Gay D. Defiesta


Livelihoods in the rural areas are seasonal and unstable making poor families vulnerable to adverse shocks such as disasters, market fluctuations or anything that jeopardizes their income sources. This is aggravated by inadequate financial wealth/savings to shield them during times of crisis. Despite the lack of steady income, numerous studies show that the poor survive by engaging in many different livelihoods to maintain their standard of living and consumption.

The Solar I oil spill disrupted a number of livelihoods in Guimaras. This study is a baseline analysis that describes the livelihood and wealth/ asset structure of people in the area to determine their vulnerability to the shock brought about by the oil spill. The paper also looked into the strategies of affected families to cope with the disaster. Results show that families engage in multiple activities not only fishing but also farming, off farming, business and wage employment. Some households have alternative sources of income and receive remittances from family members, while others are solely dependent on fishing and fishing activities. Based on the socio-economic profile, access to and ownership of assets, most families were vulnerable and were adversely affected by the oil spill. They responded to the disaster by intensifying non fishery resource based activities and migrating temporarily to seek employment.

The study recommends that non-fishing livelihoods should be developed to reduce vulnerability of the community to disasters affecting fishing income. It also recommends that further research on the dynamics and gender dimensions of livelihoods.