PILI, Camarines Sur, Sept. 28 (PNA) – The spirit of "bayanihan," a Filipino culture of cooperation has been relived in Bicol with the launching last Friday here of the Pilipinas Natin, a pet project of President Benigno S. Aquino III that spells out the value of volunteerism.
Sec. Sonny Coloma, of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), who represented the President in the grand affair, said the heart of volunteerism boiled down to the inner value of every Filipino —- the act of bayanihan. Coloma witnessed the construction being undertaken by volunteer workers of a school building in Barangay Himaao here.
The volunteers were composed of villagers, students, officers and members of the Parent-Teacher’s Association (PTA) and soldiers of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 9th Infantry Division based here.
Beatriz Teoxon, Himaao Elementary School Principal conveyed her gratitude to Camarines Sur, Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte and Pili town Mayor Tomas Bongalonta for choosing her school as recipient of the school building as she expressed her appreciation to Coloma for being the first Cabinet official to set foot in their school.
“This is a call for unity, for volunteerism and for solidarity. This is a realization of P-Noy’s vision to alleviate the country from poverty. Pilipinas Natin is one of the integral components of his economic program stipulated in his Philippine Development Plan and on top of this is his campaign for a better education,” Coloma said.
Coloma was also ushered to the two-hectare site of the Gawad Kalinga (GK) housing project in Barangay Pawili, Bula, Camarines Sur where houses for 44 poor and homeless families from the municipality are being built through the bayanihan system participated in by hundreds of volunteers not only from local communities but from all over the country.
The spirit of bayanihan being reawakened by Pres. Aquino through his Pilipinas Natin project forms a partnership between the government and the people towards achieving the country’s progress and development, and by the GK in building decent homes for the less privileged Filipinos.
“We can prove to the world that Filipinos are one in nation-building,” GK founder and president Tony Meloto who joined Coloma at the housing site said. “We need to prove to the world that Filipinos can afford to stay in decent houses and not as squatters in their own communities. Our President’s vision for Pilipinas Natin is the same vision that we want to show the world -- that Filipinos, by helping each other, can reach their dreams and join hands in nation-building,” Meloto added.
Meloto also expressed gratitude to the family of Denisio Eusebio who voluntarily donated the lot to the housing project which, he said, will serve as one of the landmarks of GK community in the country and all over the world where decent houses for indigent families are erected through the bayanihan way.
The launching event was made more momentous by thousands of Bicolano youth who came in from all over the region and volunteered to the tree planting activities simultaneously held in five sites in the province adopted for its reforestation program by El Verde, a project of the provincial government that seeks to plant 12,000 trees until 2014 to improve the environment and increase food production.
The volunteers planted 100,000 trees in Barangays Sto. Niño and Curry here; 75,000 in Barangays Harubay and Lugsad in Calabanga town; another 75,000 in Barangay Lupi, Tinambac; 65,000 in Barangays Villaflorida and Guinaban of Ocampo town and 12,500 in Barangay Libod, Tigaon.
The El Verde project is in support of Pres. Aquino’s National Greening Program that targets the planting of 1.5 billion of trees in 1.5 million hectares of forest lands all over the country until 2016. Last February 23 that marked the launching of the project, El Verde made it to the Guinness Book of World Records when 10,000 volunteers planted 500,000 trees in one hour. (PNA)