KDF leads planting of 1-M fruit trees in Pampanga-A A +A
Monday, March 17, 2014
THE Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF) with a sterling record of evident and continuous sustainable assistance to thousands of indigents in Central Luzon, is now optimistic in effecting the planting of some 1 million fruit trees in the next three years, initially in Pampanga, according to a report of Ernesto Y. Tolentino, Vice-President of Capampangan in Media Inc (CAMI).
Tolentino reports that Ms. Sylvia Muñoz-Ordoñez, KDF Executive Director and a trustee of Pampanga Agricultural Colleges said the fruit trees planting project had actually begun earlier by initially clustering Pampanga’s indigents in various communities to put up nurseries for fruit trees, like lanzones, rambutan, mangoes and the popular Thai sweet tamarind variety.
The former Deputy Chair of the Mt. Pinatubo Rehabilitation Commission told members and guests of the Capampangan in Media, Inc. (CAMI) in the March 14 media forum at the Bale Balita (House of News) inside the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ), that so far, some 100 satellite nurseries to produce fruit tree seedlings have been organized by KDF under its latest project designed to “empower and buttress the dignity” of the province’s indigents and other economically-challenged persons.
The weekly forum is hosted by CAMI in partnership with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Social Security System (SSS).
According to Ordoñez, KDF originally planned to accomplish the province-wide fruit trees planting program within 10 years, but with the increasing participation of indigents and other communities in the project, they are now optimistic of reaching their goals in three years.
She noted that the existing nurseries have so far propagated some 80,000 seedlings and that the seedlings will be sold to the public, particularly to Pampanga denizens, and thus generates income to the nursery operators.
In Tolentino's report, Ordoñez said the venture was a conscious effort of KDF to expand its range from serving a purely charity or “feeder” institution into a teacher to its constituents to make them productive members of society, as well as help narrow the “very wide gap between the rich and poor in this province and, if possible, in Central Luzon.”
Ordoñez said KDF has opened its doors to Pampanga-based members and volunteers, a departure from its previous practice of tapping only the assistance and services of Pampangos that have prospered in communities outside the province.
KDF was conceived and launched in 1987 by 35 Pampangos who have established residence outside of the province in a move to encourage the creation of min-industrial hubs in and around the then Clark Air Base, which the US was set to turnover to the Philippine government with the expiration of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
The foundation suffered a setback with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, prompting its organizers to refocus KDF’s efforts to promoting health, education and livelihood programs, Ms. Munoz said, noting that “however, in the last 27 years, KDF’s effort were concentrated on its health and education advocacies.”
Besides MS. Munoz, the other members of the KDF board are Manuel V. Pangilinan of the First Pacific Group of Companies that control the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co./Smart combine; Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Maynilad Water, North Luzon Expressway and others; Benigno Ricafort, Teresa V. Tiansay, Mario Gatus, Jose “Peping” de Jesus, Jose “Peping” Ricafort, Jess Nicdao, Blesilo P. Buan and Jose Araullo.
By networking with medical professionals and donors, KDF has set up the world’s first “charity hospital” with a P18-million grant provided by Dr. Jesus A. Datu, after whom the hospital is named, bolstering its health program for PWDs (persons with disabilities) that covers the provision of prosthesis, wheelchairs, eye and reading glasses, and services such as cataract removal, cleft lip and palate surgery.
It now also operates a mobile or ambulatory surgical clinic to perform eyes, cataract/pterygium operations for poor PWDs.
Since 2008 through this year, KDF has provided 609 prosthesis and 540 wheelchairs to indigents; performed 4,910 cataract/pterygium surgical operations and in 2013 alone distributed 11,942 reading glasses and 242 “error of refraction” or corrective glasses in partnership with local and foreign institutions, including the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), SUKOB, Central Luzon Society of Opthalmologists.
Under its “smiling free” advocacy, KDF has provided harelip/cleft surgery assistance to 975 since 2008 in partnership with Operation Smile, Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center and Ospital ng Angeles, according to Ordoñez
“KDF has also set its eyes on reaching its goal of establishing 15 satellite birthing, from the current 13, clinics to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in the province, while sustaining its ongoing training program for midwives,” Ordoñez said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 18, 2014.