Yolanda-hit fisherfolk in Samar receive more boats

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Friday, July 25, 2014


DUBBED as "Bangka ng Buhay, Bunga ng Bayanihan", the project engaged the community in the construction of their own boats for a collaborative attainment of shared goals.

THE Metrobank Group, through its corporate social responsibility arm, Metrobank Foundation, completed the turnover of 50 motor boats to Yolanda-affected fisherfolk in the municipality of Lawaan, Eastern Samar last July 22.

(Contributed photos)

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In partnership with The Organization of Philippine Soldiers with Outstanding Leadership, Dedication, Integrity Excellence and Responsibility to Society (Topsoldiers), the alumni association of its Outstanding Soldiers, and the 801st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, the donation aims to share the same goal of helping the fisherfolk regain their means of livelihood and bring back what they have lost after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Civil Relations, Brigadier General Romeo Gan, along with 801st Brigade Commander Brigadier General Wilson Leyva and 2004 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Soldier Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc flew in to witness the turnover ceremony.

Also there to meet the beneficiaries were Metrobank Area head for Eastern Visayas Federico Mariano, Cluster Sales head for Samar Lauro Sequito and branch head for Guiuan Virgil Sudario with local government officials headed by Mayor Candida Gabornes.

Mariano said the project is a manifestation of the famous saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

"It was in the aftermath of the greatest storm that we saw an opportunity to show the people of our region, Metrobank's commitment through service and dedication," added Mariano.

Lawaan, whose residents are mostly fisherfolk, is one of the hardest-hit municipalities at the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.

Mayor Gabornes said: "Ang aming maliit na bayan ay tinulungan at pinununtahan ng Metrobank Foundation at Topsoldiers dahil hindi pa namin kayang tumayo sa sarili namin sa ngayon matapos ang malakas na bagyo. Sa pamamagitan ng mga bangkang ito, sa wakas ay magagawa na naming tumayo sa aming sarili. Makakaasa kayo na ang mga tumanggap ng bangka ngayon ay hindi lamang ito gagamitin para sa hanapbuhay kundi magiging katulong din ng ating gobyerno sa pagbantay sa ating karagatan. (Metrobank Foundation and Topsoldiers helped our small municipality because we could not stand on our own right after the typhoon hit us. With these fishing boats, we will have the opportunity to finally stand on our own. Rest assured that the beneficiaries of the donation will not only use this for livelihood but will also be working hand in hand with the government in securing our sea.)"

The fisherfolk themselves were the ones who constructed and painted their own boats. This collaborative effort is a manifestation of bayanihan among different sectors in society, both public and private.

"Sa ngalan ng mga kasama kong mangingisda, labis po kaming nagpapasalamat na kami ay kasama sa mga tumanggap ng donasyong ito. Ang bangka na ito ay talaga namang magagamit namin sa maayos naming paghahanapbuhay sa karagatan na makakatulong para sa aming pamilya. (On behalf of my fellow fishermen, we express our utmost gratitude that we are the recipients of this donation. These fishing boats will be helpful especially when used properly for our livelihood that will benefit our family," said Ricardo Cabonce, one of the beneficiaries.

"This project is a true manifestation of collective ownership. The success of this cannot be attributed to only one organization but to everyone who participated. This will not only help provide income for the residents but will also help maintain peace in the municipality," said Gan.

To date, a total of 160 out of the 500 boats have been given away in Eastern Samar and Cebu.

Together with partners, more fishing boats will also be distributed in the municipalities of Guiuan and Balangiga.

The donation is a component of the Metrobank Group's Helping Hands Rehabilitation Program on livelihood, education, and health.

Disaster-resilient classrooms and barangay health stations will also be constructed in identified Yolanda-affected areas. (PR)

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