No care for the Cebuanos

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

MAGPASALAMAT mi sa Presidente sa Myanmar kay mibisita gyud sa among lugar nga na-igo sa bagyo. Apan niay atong kaugalingong Presidente wa gyud magpakabana. Morag way pagbati sa mga Sugboanon (We are greatful to the president of Myanmar because he took time in visiting our place devastated by the typhoon. But here comes our own President he never visited us as if he has no concern and love for the Cebuanos).” This is one of the reactions I got from a resident of northern Cebu in connection with the visit of Myanmar President U Thein Sein to Bantayan Island over the weekend.

The resident hit the nail right in the forehead. I subscribe to his observation because it’s already one month since super typhoon Yolanda hit parts of Visayas, but President Noynoy Aquino has yet to visit Cebu, which was equally devastated like Tacloban City in Leyte and Eastern Samar. Mind you, our governor and some of the local chief executives in the affected areas are his political allies. His visit could have encouraged survivors to rise in the midst of this crisis. He could have sympathized with them like what he did in Bohol and Tacloban. So does P-Noy care for the Cebuanos?


In my column last Saturday, I discussed the active participation of the media industry in raising funds for typhoon victims as part of their social responsibility. People from various walks of life, foundations, nongovernment organizations, big and small companies joined hands to raise funds for the survivors. One of the board of directors of Sun.Star Cebu, Francisco Dizon, husband of Joyce Garcia Dizon, initiated and undertook a unique way to raise funds.

Ma’am Joyce told me that a day or two after the typhoon, her husband suggested holding an art auction to raise funds for Yolanda survivors, as art auctions are in vogue in Manila. She asked him if it was hard to organize one. He said he would ask Vita Sarenas, owner of Finale Art File Gallery, to help him organize the event. The idea was to donate 100 percent of the auction proceeds for the shelter needs of the typhoon survivors.

Vita Sarenas agreed and they decided that instead of asking artists, they would ask FIlipino art collectors to donate an artwork or two instead. Mr. Dizon donated a work by Rodel Tapaya, a very sought-after contemporary artist whose works fetch high prices at auctions in the country and in Asia. The Dizons donated two smaller paintings. They were able to gather 55 artworks for the auction, which was held last Nov. 30 at Finale Art Gallery in Pasong Tamo, Makati with Ramon Villegas as the pro bono auctioneer. 

Up for sale were notable artworks by national artists like Arturo Luz, Ang Kiukok and distinguished artist/painter Betsy Westendorp de Brias. Betsy donated eight of her own works, which attracted very high bids and contributed immensely to auction proceeds. 

The auction was called “Art is Hope,” which was the theme of the invitations sent to prospective bidders. Mr. Dizon asked many of his art-collector friends to attend and bid as well as his co-board members in various companies that he belongs to. Vita Sarenas invited her clients and collectors to join the auction.

The total proceeds from the auction reached P3.3 million. The whole amount was donated to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), as well as to the University of Cebu.

Before the auction, Mr. Dizon met with key people of Rafi and UC since he wanted to know what they’d be doing for the typhoon survivors. It was then he decided that the proceeds would go to shelter needs of the survivors, through the two entities.  

Mr. Dizon also went to Bantayan Island and Bogo, passing through various northern towns, to see for himself the devastation wrought by the typhoon to see how he could help since he is often in Cebu. And as president of Sun Savings Bank, he has been doing this without any fanfare and Ma’am Joyce supports all his endeavors and she is proud of them.

She shared this information not to brag, but to let the public know that in their own little way, they’ve shared something with the needy in this time of crisis.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 09, 2013.


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