Espina: Men of worth and good heart

In my diary

THE International Year of the Child is celebrated every October of each year led by the United Nations. Children are the handiworks of the Lord and considered the wealth of every Filipino family. Our value system considers the child rearing patterns part of responsible parenthood. The school is “in loco parentis,” which takes care of the education of the young. Added to these are socio-civic and religious groups which promote the welfare of the children.

In Cebu, I have fortunately been part of foundations which extended educational scholarships to the deserving, underprivileged youth, led by “men of worth and good heart.” My last article paid tribute to women leaders. Women can only be effective if men shared the same initiative to help.

Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr. with his selected board of trustees (among them Hernan Streegan (+) and Manuel Go) founded Punla Foundation (“Punla” meaning, “seed,” the symbol of the child), which for decades provided scholarships to deserving high school students in the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), University of Southern Philippines and University of the Philippines, which was then expanded to selected public schools in Mandaue.

This inspired the WeCare Foundation led by its president emeritus Antonio Veloso in 1987, to extend scholarship to selected college education students of Cebu Normal University and the high school students of USJ-R. The multiplier effects of these valuable programs reached the American Chamber which had adopted and maintained an elementary school through donations of library and instructional materials. President John Domingo was the project proponent with the able assistance of the American Chamber’s past presidents and board of directors. Among them: Danny Deen, Hans Hauri, Jake Marquez, Knox Booth, John Taylor, Vince Colina and Wilson Ng.

Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko Cebu was organized by Xavier Ledesma. It helped children with cancer.

Lawyer Augusto Go is lauded with his long-term educational subsistence given to outstanding college scholars, and even to law graduates who took the bar exams. Most of them were topnotchers. The Doña Modesta Gaisano Scholarships, through the Gaisano brothers, allotted school assistance to top high school graduates. The Philippines Foundation Inc. continued its value oriented projects through the leadership of Fr. Ernesto Javier, SJ.

Speechcom International had been invited to cross cultural shows in Korea, Singapore, the United States, China and countless others. The young Josenian performers received transportation and allowance subsidy from ambassador Francisco Benedicto, Lim Liu (+), Joseph Gaisano (+), Ramon Sebastian, Jose Mari Chan, Enrique Benedicto, Raul del Mar, Antonio Cuenco, Jun Muntuerto, Michel Lhuillier (who also continued the Amparito L. Lhuillier Educational Foundation), Nestor Chua, Jay Aldeguer, among others.

In many performances of gifted Cebuanos, I saw the helping hand of Dodong Gawchua, Francis Monera, David Chan, Hans Hauri, Peter Dy, Ben Yapjoco, Mike Go, to name a few.

Junjet Primor, Val Sandiego, Roger Balila, Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, Rudy Aviles and Victor Cuenco were there to provide production assistance.

Bobby Aboitiz and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. sponsored my first book on Filipino values which I distributed to many schools.

Covid-19 frontliners and volunteers are risking their lives to help. Some are doctors Yong Larrazabal, Peter Mancao and Edwin Lim, whose hospital/clinical facilities and personal humanitarian services have been very helpful.

Clifford Gawchua, since the time he learned how to sing at an early age, braved the stage to sing “One Voice,” “I Am But a Small Voice,” and the “Greatest Love of All, the Children, Our Future.” The children’s choir of Dennis Sugarol, across global domains, sang of joy and hope. And the world listened.

Ah, men of worth and good heart, indeed, are made of sterner stuff. They, too, are valuable Filipinos.


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