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Opinion

Above and beyond politics

Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

The first month of the year is about to end. But nothing much has happened that inspires hope for a brighter year ahead especially in the field of politics. Thus, it is more appropriate to shift our attention to something more positive happening around us which are not given much media hype but which have greater impact on how we can effectively serve or help others in our community and improve their lives. Of course I am referring here to civic minded people working behind the scenes without much fanfare, through some non-government service organizations where they are members and /or officers. Worth citing again, and from time to time, is the Rotary International (RI) with so many Rotary Clubs in various parts of our country. The RI is a worldwide service organization with a vision undistracted by politics and a mission carried out with positive outlook and buoyant spirit, inspired by the ideal of “service above self.”

Rotarians dedicatedly and effectively carry out their mission through fellowship formed by common likes or dislikes and aspirations. This is a fellowship that has spread worldwide like the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) mainly aimed to preserve, protect and rehabilitate our ecological surroundings.

The IYFR Philippine Fleet is setting another milestone this year with the chartering of eight new fleets at its Grand Assembly and Fellowship tomorrow at Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City. The multi-fleet chartering ceremony is the first occasion ever in the history not only of the Philippine Fleet but the entire IYFR community. The grand affair organized by the Philippine Regional Command is to commemorate the first ever visit of its Immediate Past International Commodore (IPIC) Sergio Santi from Italy who arrived in the country last Jan. 23.

IPIC Sergio Santi is dearly loved by the members of the Philippine Fleets for his swift action and unselfish act to immediately release $30,000 disaster and relief funds from the Fellowship and in raising the same amount of funds from other members in other countries. The funds were utilized to build and replace more than 60 fishing boats damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. This move has helped hundreds of fishermen and their families in Northern Cebu to continue with their livelihood.

The first IYFR Fleet in the Philippines was founded seven years ago on March 18, 2009 by the present International Commodore, PP Jun Avecilla, when he banded together members of his Rotary Club to form the Cubao West Fleet. The IYFR promotes and advances the ideals of Rotary, through a shared interest in boating, yachting and seamanship, love for the sea, rivers and inland waters and the protection of waterways and the environments. Through Jun’s passion and commitment he has established nine fleets in the country. The group has been in the forefront of coastal and waterways cleanup drives and advocacies while they enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship. Jun is also an avid sailor who promotes the development of sailing in Subic Bay and has established the IYFR-SAGS Sailing School that teaches and train youths out of school to learn how to sail and be productive. This also helps them to gain employment becoming boat boys of sailing and racing yachts and its mainstay crew. From Fleet Commodore of the Cubao West Fleet, he rose to become the Regional Commodore of the Philippines and now the International Commodore of the oldest and biggest Rotary Fellowships founded in 1947 with over 3,000 members in 110 fleets in 36 countries speaking 25 different languages all over the world. He is the first Asian and Filipino to have been elected IYFR International Commodore in 69 years of its existence. He is assisted by an International Bridge composed of Guillermo Arteta, International Vice and Area 2 Commodore form Argentina, Robert Burns International Rear and Area 1 Commodore from Great Britain and Area 3 Commodore Kerran Campbell from Australia and Immediate Past International Commodore Sergio Santi.

The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) in the Philippines has become more vibrant and alive, thanks to the efforts of the IYFR Philippine Regional Command. What PP Jun has started seven years ago is now headed by Regional Commodore CP Gloriosa “Oyie” Valarao after being installed in Sao Paolo in June last year. Barely seven months on her seat, RC Oyie established the Philippine Regional Command and installed Regional Vice Commodores that helped accelerate the membership and growth of the Philippine Fleets which has doubled since 2014. The goal initially set by IC Jun to establish a Fleet in every Rotary district in the Philippines is nearing reality as fleets are now being established in seven out of the ten Rotary districts in the country. Regional Vice Commodores PDG Pichoy Ramirez of RD 3770, PP Gerry Buhain of RD 3780, PDG Francis Rivera RD 3790, PP Joe Ragos D3800, IPDG Edmond Aguilar RD3810, PP Francis Paderna RD 3820 and PP Udo Pelkowski RD 3860 head the fleets in the various districts.

The existing Philippine Fleets are headed by Fleet Commodores. They are: the Cubao West Fleet headed by Pres Max Tan; Hands On Fleet, by PP Linda Palatao; Peace Fleet by PP Mike Crisologo; First Class Fleet by PP Bong Pine; Cebu Fleet by PP Sven-Olof Tengelin; San Remigio Fleet by PP Tony Ynoc; Subic Bay Fleet by Pres Zedrik Avecilla; and Dragon Fleet by IPDG Edmond Aguilar.

The new Fleets headed by various Commodores that will be chartered are: Service Fleet to be headed by Commodore PP Bernadette Herrera; Sting Ray Fleet, by PP William Rogando; Southern Wind Fleet by Pres. Erhard Larga, Rainbow Fleet, by CP Dennis Arca; Sea Horse Fleet by Pres Rolando Jesse Bausas; Palanas Fleet by PP Rose Palacio; Kagitingan Fleet by PP Wiston Ongchinke; and Pearl of the Orient Fleet, by PP Alexander Santos.

With an average of 20 members per Fleet, the Philippine fleets have now close to 400 members or Rotary Mariners.

The Philippines will be represented by Regional Commodore Gloriosa “Oyie” Valarao in the Area 3 Annual General Meeting of the IYFR in Auckland, New Zealand this February 3-8, 2016 and thereafter the RI Convention, AGM and PCC in Seoul from May 28-June 5, 2016.

E-mail: attyjosesison@gmail.com

 

COMMODORE CUBAO WEST FLEET EDMOND AGUILAR FLEET FLEETS INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL COMMODORE IYFR PHILIPPINE PHILIPPINE FLEETS PHILIPPINE REGIONAL COMMAND
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