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Collaborating for Filipino communities |

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Collaborating for Filipino communities

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda -
Collaborating for Filipino communities
Stock image of hands together
Image by Jackson David from Pixabay

A poverty rate reduced to 9% by 2028 is the target set by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the Philippines. It was in his very first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he announced this objective, and since then, his administration has been indisputable in its efforts to achieve it. 

Among the other targets the government set for itself, it may be this vow against poverty that is resonating the loudest to the many non-profit organizations concerned with uplifting the country’s marginalized sector and families. 

The time I spent heading Bantay Bata 163 shaped my perspective on the vital role of these movements and foundations in both social welfare and nation building. Such is why I am glad to share my renewed optimism when I found out that many groups continued to step up their work over the years—and that the government’s vow was a call to service strong enough for some to even form partnerships as an answer.

One of the most notable of new unions is the partnership of the Okada Foundation—who continued to make headway with its educational and medical initiatives—with Kabisig ng Kalahi (Kabisig), one of the most prominent civic groups in the country.

Apalit Mayor Jun Tetangco, Okada Foundation, Inc. president James Lorenzana, Senator Lito Lapid and Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda at the unveiling of the dedication marker of Don Honorio Ventura State University’s new academic building.

If, like me, you’re just as curious about how fruitful the partnership can be, I’m happy to say we won’t be disappointed at all.

Looking back, we can find the Okada Foundation’s footprint in key projects seeking to benefit multiple sectors. Just last year, the three-storey, 12-classroom academic building it granted to the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Apalit, Pampanga was inaugurated, to the delight of the town’s students, parents, teachers, and families. 

Prior to that, the Foundation proved itself to be a wonderful neighbor to its surrounding communities as it became the Parañaque City local government unit’s (LGU) partner in providing medical services, through its annual P12-million pledge to the city.

The Okada Foundation, Inc. represented by (L-R) Vice President for Corporate Planning Kentaro Amamoto, TRLEI Director Hajime Tokuda, and foundation President James Lorenzana hands a check to Parañaque City LGU represented by City Mayor Eric Olivarez and wife Aileen Olivarez.

Coincidentally, where President Marcos himself launched the country’s first human lung transplant program the previous week is the same beneficiary to a P25-million grant from the Okada Foundation in 2020: the Lung Center of the Philippines. (Another P25 million was pledged to the Philippine Heart Center just as well that same year.)

These are only some examples among the major strides that Okada Manila has taken over the years.

On the other hand, Kabisig, under the direction of the brilliant and impassioned Vicky Wieneke, holds a track record that spans two decades of programs and services that rightfully earned the trust and support of both private enterprises and the government itself many times over.

The work of Kabisig, as one way to describe it, is seed-planting. Perhaps the group’s strongest suit is designing and implementing projects that directly engage community members towards productive and uplifting action.

Representatives of DHVSU Apalit Campus express their thanks for the newly-donated school building by the Okada Foundation, Inc., through the collaboration of Apalit LGU, the office of Senator Lito Lapid, and PAGCOR.

One shining example of Kaibisig’s ingenuity is the way it unlocks this value in others: at the height of the pandemic, the group strived to put together its Food Share Program. Here, Kabisig assessed communities according to its needs, and the capabilities of its members. 

To community members apt for work, Kabisig taught cultivation of plants which eventually produced vegetables not just for one family, but enough for others that need it as well. Kabisig made sure that the right stakeholders were tapped as well, securing the participation of the local barangay, and even the Department of Agriculture, every step of the way.

Kabisig’s Food Share Program didn’t stop at sustenance and continued with the goal of enriching the lives of its beneficiaries through other sustainable livelihood development methods such as skills training and workshops.

With the announcement of the Okada Foundation’s partnership with Kabisig ng Kalahi just last year, there comes a brighter ray of hope for more marginalized Filipino families and communities. 

Kabisig ng Kalahi staff with community members participating in the Food Share Program.

Indeed, as the foundation’s president James Lorenzana said as they formalized the union with a signature, the cooperation between the two organizations serves to “make a meaningful impact on the lives of underprivileged communities,” and to “creating lasting change in the Philippines, particularly in areas of education, healthcare, and sustainable livelihoods.” 

Weineke shared Lorenzana’s optimism, describing their organizations’ affiliation as “a testament to our shared vision of a brighter future for those in need.”

The Okada Foundation, led by President James Lorenzana, and Kabisig ng Kalahi, led by founder Vicky Wieneke sign a Memorandum of Agreement formalizing their partnership.

In my career as a broadcast journalist, I was given the opportunity to interview and know the story of hundreds of non-government organizations (NGO). Yet developments like these never fail to impress me, as a notable few continue to go the extra mile to make a lasting and significant impact on different sectors.

I believe that the partnership of organizations such as the Okada Foundation and Kabisig ng Kalahi can contribute to turning the president’s single-digit target from an ambitious bid, into a future that’s within reach. 

At the very least, I’m filled with hope that the collaboration will also inspire more groups into expanding their borders and cooperating with the same passion and heart.


Watch Pamilya Talk on Facebook and YouTube (@JingCastaneda – 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts: InstagramFacebookYouTubeTiktok and Twitter.  Please share your stories or suggest topics at

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