The Taal Volcano has calmed down a little while the COVID restrictions have relaxed. The victims of typhoon Rai in the Philippines have slowly recovered too. But in the midst of these little headway we did not allow ourselves to be complacent as the world and humanity continue to “cry” in pain caused by human activities that hurt them. The fact is that we have not yet exited the dark tunnel that is the pandemic and the Taal volcano is still in Danger Alert Level 2.
The 25th year founding anniversary of our Pag-Asa Social Center would have been a milestone worthy of proclaiming to the world. It is a milestone so important as to showcase our advocacies. But we could not shout for joy while we are still in the middle of the pandemic. Huge merriments could wait that is why we chose to make our 25th anniversary celebration low-key. It is remarkable to note, however, that this year we were able to implement bigger projects compare last year, precisely because of you, our dear friends, who gave us more this year. Our heart goes out to all of you.
Though we may be pandemic and calamity stricken we were able to hold several activities in the past 6 months. Here is a list of them.
We received another assistance from our friends from AFN in Rome to help install new roofs for 45 households including our Pag-asa structures adversely affected by the Taal volcano eruption two years ago. While it may seem that only 45 households and 3 Pag-asa facilities were helped directly, 232 families, 496 children and 496 adults are indirect beneficiaries who will continue to benefit for years to come. Our facilities are also made available for use of the outside community and other people who are not beneficiaries of Pag-asa.
TYPHOON RAI RECOVERY ASSISTANCE
The Philippines is prone to typhoons because it is located just above the equator and faces the western Pacific, with little else to absorb the energy of storms before they hit land. Fuelled by the warm, tropical waters, which produce roughly 20 typhoons each year, the typhoons become stronger and stronger each year due to continued rising of temperatures which means stronger wind, heavier rainfall, and more flooding when the storms hit land. These typhoons wreak havoc just like what happened when typhoon Rai landed in late 2021 damaging 1.9 million houses, 427,000 of which totally destroyed. Through the Rotary Club of Papenburg, we were able to extend help in changing at least the roofs and walls of some 15 households benefitting a total of 23 children and 66 adults at the beginning of 2022.
TURNING ON THE SUN
The Global Grant Joint Project headed by Dr. Thomas Mrosk, chairman of the Rotary Foundation of the Rotary Club of Papenburg, with the help of Mr. Frank Schmelzer, former director of Pag-asa, and PLP Jessie Capablanca, Rotary Club of Tagaytay President, funded our TURN ON THE SUN project using a photovoltaic system or what is commonly known as solar panels. We target to finish it in August and when it is completed and fully functional, hundreds more children and adults will benefit from the project.
OTHER ACTIVITIES FROM JANUARY TO JUNE 2022
Because of the credibility and capability that Pag-asa shows in handling projects, its president, Mr. Arlyn Laroya, was chosen as the chairman of *ABSNET for the region of Cavite for the next three years. Together with some Pag-asa staff, Mr. Laroya was able to assist fellow Foundations in getting their registrations approved to be able to operate legally as well as discuss problems that each Foundation encounters and find ways to be able to better help our beneficiaries.
*ABSNET is an acronym that refers to Area Based Standard Network. It is a group of partners of non-government organizations and private organizations and local government units that are requiring license and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. ABSNET as a whole are partners in the promotion of the welfare of the disadvantaged population by promoting public accountability, transparency, professionalism and integrity in the delivery of social services.
February and June
In order for us to know how to prevent and respond to the increasing online child abuse cases in the Philippines, we attended two webinars to help develop systems and mechanisms that can provide meaningful protection for all children in the long term as well as strengthen the capacity of a variety of children protection actors in safeguarding them.
We made a big improvement in our Materials Recovery Facility and called it “The Daycare Approach for Trash Management”. Adults are usually the ones violating the rules and often ignore them while children in their young age, especially daycare pupils, usually follow what is taught them like observing good conduct and right behaviour. Children do not need complicated policies and they do not forget the things they learn until they get old. For this reason, we involved them in designing the appearance of this project through a poster-making contest. Not only did they learn, but they also expressed what they understood about the love for the environment through proper garbage disposal. We are now implementing this daycare approach system to the entire 7 hectares of the Focolare compound where Pag-asa is situated. Our dream in the future is to extend it to other households and entities who are in close proximity outside the compound until it reaches the barangay level, and hopefully the entire city.
We are in a time of disinformation and misinformation especially on social media platforms where the youth are the most vulnerable. While many children and youth do care about what is happening in our country, more numerous are those who, instead of filtering and choosing credible news outlet, opt to hop from one social network to another to entertain themselves and get their information wherein fake news stories appeal to their emotions. This is true even among their school teachers. Many of them treat textbook contents especially history textbooks as gospel truth despite the fact that the authors are not historians and what they have written are just their points of view.
We believe that we can lead a horse to the water but we cannot force it to drink. Bringing it to the water, however, is already a big step that is why we conducted a workshop together with Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo of ABS-CBN and Facts First Philippines to fight against disinformation through fact-checking. Moreover, in connection with this we also attended a summit about Civic Education. After having done these, we are forming a community youth club so that young people can become productive members of their community and of the country among many others.
Dear friends, 25 wonderful years have passed and we hope to reach another 25 years in selflessly loving our less fortunate fellows together with all of you! Enjoy your summer!
Your Pag-asa Family