A compassionate organization
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2015 - 12:00am

As we get back to normal after that memorable and euphoric visit of Pope Francis, it may also be appropriate and timely to write about some organizations or clubs which are already espousing and carrying out his message of compassion and mercy especially for the poor people in our midst.

People join private organizations or clubs for various social, civic, religious and other purposes. Sometimes they affiliate with associations or groups to establish connections or develop business contacts useful to their own business and/or professions. Others are motivated simply by their gregariousness and conviviality that push them to meet new friends and acquaintances. There are also those who are motivated by a pure and sincere desire to contribute to the betterment of their community while some join just to “belong” to a prestigious group with well known and reputable members or with attractive enticements. In some few instances, people also join out of pure pakikisama.

One organization perhaps which has members motivated by all these varied purposes is the Rotary International. But there is common denominator in their various motives; they freely and voluntarily join a Rotary Club with a pure and sincere desire to share their time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the society in which they live and for the improvement of the lives of other people therein particularly the poor, the less fortunate and the marginalized. These are the two main factors that contribute to a Rotary Club’s longevity which I find in the Rotary Club of Cubao West (RCCW) where I am a charter member.

RCCW was chartered 30 years ago and is now celebrating its pearl anniversary. It is the second club established in the Cubao area and one of the clubs under Quezon City District 3780. It is the brainchild of a Rotarian who later on became a District Governor of Quezon City District 3780, Oscar Inocentes, former QC Prosecutor and Judge who held other important positions in government.

RCCW’s Charter President was Estanislao “Naning” Alinea, a former QC Councilor and Assemblyman of the defunct Batasang Pambansa. Its charter members were a conglomeration of individuals with sharply contrasting personalities and persuasions who firmly stuck together because they “agreed to disagree without being disagreeable” to each other. The solidarity developed among the members was so strong and durable such that the club was later on described as the “club with a legend.”

Since its inception, RCCW has been led by 29 other presidents all of whom have made their distinct marks and brought signal honor to the club. The current president as it celebrates its pearl anniversary is Ed Zaragoza, the incumbent Administrator of the National Tobacco Administration. Among the past presidents, about 10 are still active not only in the club but in the district.

The secrets of the RCCW’s longevity and durability are many and varied. But most of them are found in the personality and character of the members and in the kind and quality of the club activities undertaken and even in the weekly meetings.

Very noticeable among the members is the perceivable change in their way of life upon taking their oath. They all appear to be putting on a new jacket emblazoned with the glowing words clearly showing that they have embraced a life of “service above self.” Thus their identification as Rotarians is not an ID card but their strict adherence to the principles of Rotary requiring them to uphold the truth, observe fairness, do justice to everyone, promote goodwill and act for the benefit of all concerned. There is not a single trace of superficiality and pretense in their demeanor. They are genuine people who never hide their weaknesses or flaunt their strength. Thus every time they get together, they appear so at ease and congenial with each other. No one among them stays aloof or acts alone, and whatever is their stature in society is disregarded. Every one becomes plain and simple Rotarians of RCCW.

Hence the weekly club meeting every Thursday evening is one event the members eagerly await. This is one evening in the week when members relax, unwind and enjoy, relieving the strain and stress of their daily grind in the workplace. While formalities of the meeting are observed, there is no stiffness or rigidity in the proceedings that would drive away or discourage members not to attend anymore because of boredom. Every meeting serves as training ground for leadership because most past presidents attend and participate. It is a tension-free-no-holds-barred session full of fun and laughter ending up in more solid bonding.

This spirit of fellowship and camaraderie spills over during the Club’s various community activities and projects. For over 20 years, the Club undertook a Jail Outreach Program in Quezon City where a priest (former RCCW member Fr. Tony Ranada, SVD), lawyer and doctor-members assisted by other members provide legal, medical and spiritual assistance to inmates at least once a month. The Club also established and operated for about two years a day care center in Barangay Pinagkaisahan. Presently, it is offering free medical services like bone scan for early detection and prevention of osteoporosis, digital examination, electrocardiography, free cataract operation, prosthetic replacements of limbs that have been lost and assistance to those with heart ailments. Other whole year round projects are the Barangay medical missions and milk and food feeding programs, annual gift giving and party for sick and invalid babies at the National Children’s Hospital and the regular community clean up drives. It also spearheaded the organization of “International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR)” mainly for the environmental protection of our seas, rivers and other waterways as well as our forests. But whatever projects are undertaken all members seem to exude an aura of sincerity and total dedication that is simply contaminating. The contributions of all the members are outstanding, but for lack of space I cannot mention them all.

Obviously these are the tangible factors enabling the club to last this long. I myself never thought I could last for 30 years in this club but here I am still active because this is one organization indeed that has provided me with a really effective vehicle to serve our fellowmen.

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Email: attyjosesison@gmail.com



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