A thousand boats for Leyte

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


ALMOST five months after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas, various forms of assistance continue pouring in to Leyte, the hardest hit by the storm.

The Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation (NVCF), a non-government organization based in Bacolod, was one of the first to respond to the needs of the typhoon victims in Leyte.

As Yolanda destroyed the boats of many fishermen there, NVC saw the need to address this by donating more boats.

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Raising donations from the Philippines and around the world under its Peter Project, NVC has raised the hopes of hundreds of fishermen victims in Leyte.

Before Yolanda, the NVC’s Peter Project Program has been donating motorized wooden boats and fiberglass fishing boats to fishermen in Negros Occidental, Panay Island, Cebu, Samar and Leyte, who could not afford a boat of their own.

Post-Yolanda, NVC expanded the project to fishermen who lost their boats to the typhoon.

Last Saturday, March 29, the NVC had turned over its 1,000th motorized fishing boat in Palo, Leyte, to a fisherman who lost his boat to Yolanda, a press release from the organization said.

The recipient was Rolando Pamplona, a 44-year-old fisherman who lost his wife and their seventh child to the super typhoon. Their boat was donated by the parishioners of the Church in Piansano, a small town in Italy.

Pamplona was among the 22 fishermen in Palo, Leyte who received their NVC boats on the same day. NVC also turned over 35 bancas to fishermen in Tacloban, Leyte a day before that.

On the same weekend, NVC also inaugurated its second fiberglass boat-making facility in Javier, Leyte to help them cope with the growing list of donations for the project. Its first factory is in Bacolod City.

NVCF president Millie Kilayko said that they have shifted to the production of fiberglass boats from wooden boats because of their concern for the environment.

“When we launched Peter Project 2 just a few days after Typhoon Yolanda hit, we thought that we would be making only a maximum of 300 wooden boats. When the response was increasing fast, NVC did not want to have to cut as many trees as the boats that were needed, thus the shift,” Kilayko explained.

To ease the fishermen’s apprehension on shifting from wooden to fiberglass boats, Kilayko said that NVC exposed the fishermen to the advantages of the material before the fiberglass boats are delivered to them.

“This meant bringing over fishermen representatives to Bacolod to test out fiberglass boats, and understanding the process of production. After their visit, they grew excited about the material,” she added.

“We also invite our potential beneficiaries to attend our turnovers to check out the boats, and decide for themselves whether they want it or not. To date, we have not yet received a refusal,” she stressed.

When our trucks carrying the fiberglass boats roll through the streets, people run towards the truck, touch the boats and cheerfully say that they like the boats, according to NVC volunteer Alyne Batano, who is now assigned as field officer for Samar and Leyte.

Kilayko said the fiberglass boat plant in Leyte is geared towards producing at least a thousand more boats, augmenting the output of their Bacolod plant.

The new location, she said, was chosen by the NVC due to the efficient leadership of Mayor Sandy Javier.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 01, 2014.

Lifestyle

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