GK Canada honors builders of homes for typhoon Yolanda victims
(The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Gawad Kalinga Canada (GKC) recently honored 19 organizations and private individuals for their major contribution to the organization’s rebuilding efforts in Leyte province in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

Jose Querubin, GKC vice-chairman, welcomed guests and honorees to the awarding and recognition  ceremony  held last Nov. 28 at the historic downtown Toronto condo-tel 1 King West Hotel. Present at the ceremony were key officers of GK Canada, Philippine Consul-General Rosalita Prospero, Luis Oquinena, GK Philippines executive director, some Members of Parliament, officers of CUSO, and the honorees.

GKC constructed a total of 106 homes over the past two years in the town of Palo, Leyte, one of the worst-hit areas by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).  A documentary by Rex Manasan was shown, capturing highlights of the on-site visit conducted by GKC officials led by Elvira Tan, GKC board member.

In her speech, Consul-General Prospero thanked GKC for helping restore trust in the Filipino. “You are not only building homes but, more importantly, giving hope to the victims of Yolanda,” she said.

For his part, the visiting GK Philippines official Luis Oquinena gave the audience a glimpse of the enormous challenges faced by the mother organization in the Philippines brought about by the formidable forces of climate and conflict. Oquinena said current thrusts are centered on preparations for the onset of a disaster, determining where and how to relocate communities before disaster strikes.

Early on, GKC board Director Francis Rementilla proudly announced that a tripartite partnership had just been firmed up between GK Philippines, GK Canada, and CUSO International. The 5-year partnership is under the Canadian Government’s Volunteers for International Cooperation and Empowerment (VOICE) program. The organizations will work together to mobilize the Filipino diaspora and other non-traditional development actors in Canada and the Philippines to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth programs.

CUSO International’s Nefertiti Saleh also briefly addressed the group, outlining the agency’s vision of a world where all people are able to realize their potential, develop their skills and participate fully in society, a vision commonly shared with Gawad Kalinga.

In his closing remarks, GKC Chair Francisco Pacis offered special thanks particularly to volunteers of long standing whom he considers the pillars of GK Canada and whose dedication serves as his own inspiration. His announcement that a donor had just pledged $40,000 to GKC created a stir in the audience and invited an appreciative applause.

GKC board directors Rafael Fabregas and Lyra Zagala jointly emceed the successful awarding ceremony organized by Cheryl Cantonjos, event coordinator.

To date, Gawad Kalinga Philippines has built some 70,000 homes across the archipelago. The GK vision was set by its founder and father, Tony Meloto, who said: “In the next few years, we will see the unfolding of the Filipino dream: five million Filipino families out of poverty by 2024, with 500,000 social entrepreneurs leading this movement towards sustainability, grounded on kindness with excellence, compassion with competence. Our vision is an articulation of hope for a kinder, fairer, safer, and happier world. It is also a call to action, an invitation for your participation, because it is only  through miracles of solidarity, in the spirit of bayanihan and walang iwanan that we can bring this beautiful dream to life.”

Here’s the list of Canadian donors: AC Tristar (c/o Alfredo Pacis); Aurora “Roy” Narciso; Balikatan Montreal (c/o Tess Manlugo and Jacinta Panganiban); Canadian Multicultural Council (c/o Sid Ikeda); Alex Chiu Golf Tournament; Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians (c/o Yolanda Ladines); Cora Lopez (from New York, USA); Filipino-Canadian Real Estate Association; Filipino Renal Nurses Association in Ontario (c/o Aurora Elefano); Japan-Canadian Cultural Centre;  Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metro Toronto; One King West (c/o Matt Black); Novotel Vaughan (c/o Bernie Bulaong); Philippine Independence Day Council (c/o Norma Carpio); Rubi Talavera; 7 Enoteca (c/o Cristina Carpio); Sunlife Financial (c/o Frank Switzer); T & T Supermarket (c/o Paul Ho); Unite Here Local 75.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with