Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Help Where Needed

Upon arrival in Manila, January 18, 20l0 FtH activities started with a meeting at the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) on gift giving procedure. In addition to gift giving implementation, we took action on the following FtH program areas:

Prior to engaging in this activity, I emailed Lito Ilagan, Chair, FtH Education to inform him of the ‘restricted’ funds from the 2008 fundraising in Las Vegas that earmarked funds for a “Rozita V. Lee Scholarship Program” – area would be of RVL’s choice. In November, 2009 Rozita planned to go to the Philippines with us – specifically to put to closure this scholarship program. It was originally earmarked for San Manuel, Pangasinan. We solicited the assistance of Manny and Fely Dumo to search for appropriate candidates. In late December, 2009, Rozita’s schedule prohibited her from joining this trip thus we asked the Dumos to take charge of implementation for presentation to FtH. In early January, a pool of applicants were identified from the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University – Catbangen, City of San Fernando. They were examined, researched and narrowed down to ll applicants. We then asked for their school records and background of their financial capabilities, which we received prior to leaving for Manila. In conjunction with our scheduled gift giving implementations to Pangasinan and La Union, we scheduled the personal interviews with all ll applicants in San Fernando, La Union.

Interviews were held with applicants on February 6, 2010. Chair Buhain, Manny and Fely Dumo and myself met with Anastacia P. Palacpac, Head, Student Affairs and Services, DMMMSU, who gave us an indept briefing of the applicants’ scholastic capabilities, financial capabilities, passion for learning, dedication to excellence and their family background. We then met ALL the applicants in a conference room and asked each individual to introduce themselves and say something about themselves. Originally, we intended to interview them individually but in the intro part it was obvious that they were NOT hesitant to share their stories. We, however, cautioned the group that what they heard about each other was NOT to be shared outside the room. Everyone felt comfortable that this would be honored. Everyone had a compelling story – their passion to learn was overwhelming and their commitment to improve their lives was unquestionable.

Chair Buhain and I caucused as to our approach to this situation and together with the Dumos and a very detailed discussion with Ms. Palacpac we made the decision to award ALL ll applicants a one year scholarship – to be reviewed before the end of each school year for continuation.

NOTE: all ll applicants are lst year college students entering their 2nd year with this scholarship. On a personal note, I felt very confident about this decision to be the right one – the Dumos also made a commitment to fund raise in LV for this. VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Amount of scholarship is within the guidelines suggested by Scholarship Chair L. Ilagan of $l40.00 per year, per student.

Bahay Lila
In our search for shelters for battered and sexually abused women and girls, Tessie Villacorta and I visited this house in Singalong. It is supervised by Benedictine nuns in partnership with Women Crisis Center. It is a temporary shelter for ‘clients’ for a maximum of three months when assessment is made for the next stage.

Three clients in the home agreed to meet with us. Their stories are very sad.

There is no need for our engagement with them at this time as they have current sponsors.

Meeting with Rotary
Last year, 2009, I met with Chit Lijauco, Managing Editor of PHILIPPINE TATLER, who featured us in their magazine (small column). She was very impressed with FtH and mentioned that she was scheduled to be District Governor for the Rotary International, District 3820 and would like to partner with us. Because of our experience in Rotary in Kalibo years back, I said we were open to this. Then the Ondoy, Pepeng Typhoons struck areas under Chit’s governance. She reached out to us and asked for assistance for Laguna.

January, 26, 20l0, I asked Chair Buhain to accompany me to travel with Chit to Cabuyao and Los Banos to do a site visit. We met an incredible team of folks whose dedication to help was unquestionable. In Cabuyao, Laguna, we saw devastation of schools, homes and playgrounds. They also discussed with us the critical need for a feeding program (separate report on this). We proceeded to Los Banos to also witness devastation caused by typhoons.

At the end of visit, Chair Buhain and I decided that helping Cabuyao with a gift giving and to assist with funds for building a wall that protects the school of the Laguna de Bay from future typhoons. We also told them to submit a proposal for this wall and we told them that we would discuss the Feeding Program with FtH Feeding Program Chair Sanidad.

We received the request from Cabuyao in writing for the Gift Giving and Feeding program (details both in separate reports). They will also submit wall estimates. They followed up vigorously and we agreed to both implement a Gift Giving and Feeding Program after approved by FPChair Sanidad (NOTE: that the amount of $l,400 as dictated by FtH guidelines was the amount committed to the Rotary).

Also noteworthy RCCC monthy newsmagazine included a full page story on FtH from our initial site visit.

Gov. Chit Lijauco was very grateful for this partnership and expressed hope for continued partnership in other sites.

Feeding Program
As reported in the FtH Other Activity Report - Meeting with Rotary – Feeding Program was approved for Cabuyao, Laguna.

Thursday, February 18, 20l0, Gloria, together with Carl Abella, Jose Naldo and Joe Clavesillas, traveled to Cabuyao, Laguna. Chit Lijauco, District Governor of Rotary International District 3820 met us at the Feeding Program Site. Upon arrival, we met with the officers of Rotary Club of Cabuyao Circle at the Mayor’s office where Municipal Mayor Isidro L. Hemedes, Jr. asked to see us for a few minutes to thank us for the good work FtH is doing in Cabuyao and other parts of the Philippines. We then proceeded to Barangay Southville to meet the 30 identified malnourished children and some parents who will assist in the feeding program. Conversation with Rotary members, parents and DSW folks assured us that this would be a well-run program. Of great importance to note – the Rotary International will also supply – at NO cost to this program – supplemental vitamins.

NOTE: when informed of FtH’s intentions to implement this feeding program, the RC – CC started to de-worm the children they identified for this program, Monday, February 15, 20l0.

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
We entered into a MOA with the Rotary Club of Cabuyao Circle (RCCC) effective Thursday, February 18, 20l0.

It was a very special day. The food preparation was done by parents who will rotate this responsibility. It will not be the norm, but this day, we also fed a few parents of these children. We had enough to go around – making sure children had their seconds. One mother, pregnant with her third child was very hungry that morning.

TOTAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN PROGRAM: 30 (@$0.36 = P17.00 per day
(Feeding is 5 days a week – February 18 – August 7, 20l0)


We informed Rotary Club of Cabuyao Circle President, Lzl C. Ampatuan of FtH’s decision to fund a Feeding Program in the amount of $l,400 and implement a Gift Giving activity - they were so excited and easily put wheels in motion for us to make both happen on February 18, 20l0. We approved a program for 30 children effective February 18, 20l0. Myself, with Carl Abella and Jose Naldo, accompanied by Joe Clavesillas went to Cabuyao to sign the MOA and implement a GG for 250 families as well in three areas.

We received a request from Marikina for a Feeding Program. As is the process, we asked them to put it in writing – explain beneficiaries – implementation – partners, etc.

Tuason Community Center Foundation, Inc.
A request was made for FtH to visit this center in Marikina to assess their programs -health and daycare. Accompanied by Tessie Villacorta, I went to Marikina Heights, Marikina City and visited six barangays severely affected by Ondoy. FtH assistance needed badly. Baranggay Dona Petra (Payatas of Marikina) was totally devasted and the clean-up had to be done immediately because garbage entered homes in addition to mud. Typhoon ravaged schools and make-shift schools totally inadequate.

There is a request to assist the daycare center that provides early childhood education for pre-schoolers. Of equal importance is assistance in feeding these children. Any assistance would be appreciated.

After extensive site visits and discussion with Sr. Angela, I recommended a gift giving implementation.


CRIBS (Create Responsive Infants by Sharing Foundation, Inc.)

In October, 2009, after a personal project with Glow Greeting Cards – special cards for breast cancer month - launched at the Filipina Women’s Network Summit in California, Ben and I decided that ALL funds raised from the sale of these cards (printing expenses paid by Ben and I) and in collaboration with FWN, would be earmarked for battered and sexually abused women and girls affected by the typhoon calamity in the Philippines.

Tessie Alarcon reached out to Manila to identify such organizations. One who responded to this search was CRIBS Foundation, Inc. CRIBS is a non-government organization committed to the caring, healing, recovery and development of abandoned, surrendered, neglected, and sexually abused children and their families.

On Tessie and Pablito’s recommendation CRIBS was put on the implementation list for Gift Giving, Scholarship and Calamity Rehab (Livelihood)

On January 28, 2010, after the Marikina gift giving implmentation, My long-time friend Tessie Villacorta and I proceeded to CRIBS for an FtH assistance/assessment visit. We met with Marie Victa Labajo, Executive Director of the Cribs Foundation, Inc. who toured us through the facilities and explained all their services. We then found out that in early December, they were corresponding with FtH and CFO for assistance in Adopt-A-Scholar Project and actually thought this visit was in response to that request. They were told by CFO not to expect anything.

RECOMMENDATION: After this visit, I communicated with Chair Buhain and Board Member Sanidad and recommended that FtH provide 26 residential girls with personal hygiene supplies (feminine napkins, feminine wash, shampoo, bath soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, wash towel, body power, etc) for 12 months.

ESTIMATED COST: PhP62,400 ($l,356.) CRIBS has been listed on our implementation list as a Gift Giving program and budgeted accordingly. They agreed and proceeded to communicate with CRIBS accordingly.

On Tuesday, February 9, after gift giving implementation in Las Pinas, FtH volunteers proceeded to CRIBS to implement the first of a series of gift-giving of their personal needs. Note that FtH Volunteers present saw first hand the great joy in these girls.

FURTHER ACTION: Tessie Villacorta has volunteered to implement the monthly gift-giving. FtH needs to reimburse Tessie for funds expended.

Migrating to the USA

Regie and Ivy, from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO, requested I address Filipinos migrating to the USA at their regular outreach/exit debriefing at the CFO.

On Monday, February 8, I requested Chair Buhain to accompany me to the CFO office and we addressed a group ready for departure to the United States.

The topics we covered included:
What to expect upon arrival in the US
Life in the US and what makes it different from the Philippines
The job market and potential for growth
Housing issues
Professional landscape of Filipinos and Fil Ams
Difference in communities in different states
Inter-action with Filipinos, Filipino Americans and other ethnic groups
New and different family responsibilities (most were sponsored by a relative – average wait 20 years)
Children/Parents issues (some folks, grandparents were being asked to
Help their children with child caring while they work

We were candid and explained that the Filipino values that have been instilled in us never go away and remain to be the solid foundation that enables us to face new beginnings. It’s never compromised, but we just adjust to a new way of life – sometimes better – sometimes challenging.

We responded to Questions & Answers and wished them all well.

2010 Gift Giving Implementation

Submitted by Gloria T. Caoile
Co-Chair, FtH Gift Giving Program

The FtH Gift Giving Program is one of six programs designed to uplift the spirit and well-being of the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. Organized in l993 with the single purpose of distributing gift packages, FtH has broadened its objectives and programs to include supplementary feeding, educational assistance, emergency and calamity relief, community and economic development programs.

From January 18 to February 20, 2010, FtH volunteers traveled throughout Luzon to distribute gift packages consisting of the following items: rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, coffee, powder milk, toiletries, laundry soap, school supplies and snack packs for children.

Preparations for 20l0 Gift Giving Implementation

Requests were made to FtH for the 2010 implementation as early as July, 2009. The Gift Giving committee evaluated all the requests, sent verification inquiries to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and by November 2009 requests were approved and budgeted.


We set out for our trip to Manila on January 16th arriving early morning of January 18th. Wasting no time, I headed to the CFO office to go over implementation schedules only to find out that the CFO, due to personnel change and budgetary constraints, could not partner with FtH in our gift giving program.

Talk about fast reactions -- we had to figure out the following:
- Gift giving implementation schedule – confirmed and tentative (and to schedule site visits to make sure sites are qualified);
- Where to shop for items for gift bags (packaging/delivery);
- How to use contact persons for each site;
- Make sure beneficiaries at each site met FtH eligibility standards;
- Transportation to each site.

We found answers to our logistical and distribution problems at PureGold (discount food outlet) which agreed to individually pack items we purchased (250 packs for each site). We also arranged delivery to each site.

I then got in touch with our site contacts to make sure they identified eligible beneficiaries and to make sure the beneficiaries had tickets so they could claim their packages on implementation day.
Having solved the major hurdles – purchasing/delivery and transportation - we were set for implementation. We proceeded to inform all FtH volunteers in Manila to sign up for sites they wanted to join. This is always one of the best parts – everyone wants to join and be part of the program.

FtH 2010 Implementation Team
Lottie and Willie Buhain; Ben and Gloria Caoile, Celia P. Donahue, Estela and Mario Sanidad, Zeny and Ralph Sistoza, Vicky and Bing Gavino, Butch and Verna Samson, Carl Abella, Jeanette Calahong, Baby Herrera, Joe Clavesillas, Roger Saplan, Manny and Fely Dumo.

We were joined by local volunteers: Joan Mallen, Louie Toehl; Tessie Villacorta; Marichu (friend of Roger); Dondee Cruz;

We also had photographers: Amanda Bantug and four of her friends who went to a couple of sites.

We are also extremely grateful to our site contacts who worked on identifying beneficiaries, arranged the distribution, and worked with us throughout the day.

Our primary mission for this implementation was to make sure we went to areas affected by the recent calamity – Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

2010 Implementation Sites
January 23 – Payatas, Quezon City – 250 Families
January 25 – Taytay, Rizal – 400 Families
January 28 – Marikina, Rizal – 250 Families
January 30 – Sun Vallye, Paranaque – 250 Families
February 5 – Umingan, Pangasinan – 250 Families
February 5 – Puzorrubio, Pangasinan – 250 Families
February 6 – Arringgay, La Union – 250 Families
February 7 –Bauang, La Union – 250 Families
February 7 – Agoo, La Union – 100 Families
February 9 – Las Pinas – 250 Families
February 11 – Anabu 1 and Imus, Cavite – 250 Families
February 13 – Tambo, Paranaque – 250 Families
February 17 – Marikina, Rizal (area Dona Petra) – 250 Families
February 18 – Cabuyao, Laguna – 250 Families
February 19 – Don Jose Heights (Payatas) – 200 Families

All implementation days started with meeting early in the morning at a designated place. All volunteers for the day proceeded to implementation site. Upon arrival, FtH Banners were hang and a short program followed (intro of FtH; well wishes for all, and thank you to local supporters and volunteers). In most areas there were also distribution of snacks for children.