Wednesday, May 28, 2014
"Last April 6, my flight to Cebu left Hong Kong around 9am for the boat turnover and relief distribution on Bantayan Island. By 1pm on that day, Doc Karen Seville Fernan, her 80 year old mom, and I were on our way to Hagnaya Port in northern Cebu. From Hagnaya Port, we boarded the 5:30 pm ferry to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island. Our contact from a local NGO, DAMGO Inc (the NGO who launched the Bantayan Back to Sea Project), fetched us around 7pm and brought us to Bantayan Island Nature Park where the NGO is based. The plan for the turnover the following day was fairly simple, with us hopping from one barangay to another, as beneficiaries were located in various communities.
On April 7, together with the Head Dreamer Mr Allan Monreal of DAMGO Inc, we left the nature park around 7:30am to start the turnover. The first stop was Barangay Bantigue where 3 new boats were turned over. The next stops were Barangays Suba (2 newly repaired boats), Talisay (3 new boats) and Okoy (2 new boats). We missed the last barangay because the ferry going back to the mainland was about to leave. The number of boats and list/profiles of the beneficiaries will be updated by DAMGO Inc and it would probably help more than 20 families as boats to be delivered now include repaired and newly constructed boats. Doc Karen and I were able to distribute more than 200 packages of goods, mostly from the donations of migrant workers in HK, friends of WIMLER HK (from the expat community and from City University of Hong Kong) and other donations from Karen’s sister in the US. Last December, the first tranche of relief goods and other items were distributed, toiletries (from Peachy Viniegra-Lin), laminated sacks (for roofing) and blankets were brought by Karen and friends for distribution.
The transparent set-up that DAMGO Inc has in their ‘back to sea‘ project encouraged us, the Directors in WIMLER HK, to collaborate with them. From the detailed cost of the boats, operational expenses to the quarterly reports, DAMGO Inc ensured that we know where the donations will be spent. The trainings they conduct are also in line with WIMLER’s advocacy of strengthening the capacities of the grassroots organisations like the fisherfolks’ associations. With WIMLER HK being accountable to the donors who generously gave money for the typhoon victims, the trip was an assurance that needs were validated and that donations reached the community through the help of an efficient and grounded local NGO.
To my WIMLER-HK Co-Directors: Leila Rispens-Noel Anna Martinez Katherine De Guzman Emilie Veringa-Tobias Luz Tan-Sanchez Sonia Soosot Nisa Zerrudo and the rest... grateful for this opportunity. Thankful that we were able to help the community."
- Joy Tadios-Arenas
You can view the complete list of beneficiaries here