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Friday, June 5, 2009

A Compassionate Mission and an Exemplary Philanthropy : Tales of Transformation Worthy of Emulation by Dr. Napoleon A. Allones

With all the negative news about the country being fed daily by newspapers, radio and television, one could not help but feel distressed with the dark thought that the nation seems heading towards self-destruction. That's why people who want to avoid stress and feel relaxed avoid buying newspapers, listening over the radio or viewing the newscast on TV. A righteous person's reaction to a sensational news item could be hazardous to his health. However, some articles could be inspiring like what is narrated below:

              A front page article of the Philippine Star, Oct. 22, 2007 issue, caught my attention and upon reading it, I was extremely touched by its awe-inspiring story. It was entitled, "Angel of the Dump Saves Lost Souls". It tells the story of a 43-year old former British publishing house executive named Jane Walker who was so deeply touched with Christian pity and empathy towards the scavengers of Smoky Mountain that she left her lucrative publishing job in her native Britain to put up her Philippine Christian Foundation which funded the establishment of an elementary school at Smoky Mountain, Tondo, Manila upon her immigration and relocation to Manila.
              Arriving in Manila as a tourist in 1996, Walker was shocked to see the object poverty and distressing squalor of the community of scavengers at Smoky Mountain which transformed her into a real Christian with a missionary zeal. Returning to Britain, she quite her publishing job, took on three others to save more money to put up her foundation. When her partner left her after the birth of their son, she left Britain and lived in Manila where she put up an elementary school without any government help. The school now has dozens of volunteer teachers and health workers to attend to around 500 pupils who are provided with free books and supplies.
Walker could be considered as the modern Mother Teresa of Manila in terms of her missionary work. While the Philippine government, throught the city government of Manila and te MMDA, painted the roofs of the tenement houses of the squatters ot hide the ugly eye sores from the eyes of the visiting dignitaries, no government agency paid attention to uplift the living condition of the poorest of the poor in Metro Manila. It takes a foreigner to take action and improve the plight of the destitute among our countrymen. This classic example of man's humanity to man could likewise be expressed in philanthropic acts.

In Aklan, where I am presently assigned as Assistant Schools Division Superintendent, I learned of two philanthropic and charitable families who were duly recognized as great benefactors of two schools. One is the Repiedad family of Linabuan, Banga, Aklan. The family patriarch, the late Mr. Aguinaldo T. Repiedad Sr., was once the Schools Division Superintendent of Capiz but later on transferred to Aklan. Due to the absence of a public secondary school in that community, the former principal of the Linabuan Sur Elementary School envisioned a public secondary school established annexed to the elementary school site. So he asked the Repiedad family for a donation of a lot for the secondary school. The Repiedad family readily donated one-half hectare initially in 2003 and another one-half hectare last 2007. Furthermore, the family donated an amount of P168,000 for the air conditioning unit, percussion musical instruments for the school band and a grass cutter. The school is now named as Aguinaldo T. Repiedad Sr. Integrated School.
Another story is the family of Rizalina Raz Feliciano of Bacan, Banga, Aklan. She was PGH nurse in 1939 but immigrated to the US in 1955. Retired in 1984, she lived in Malate, Manila. When she visited Bacan National High School in 2001, she was shocked by the pitiable sight of the office building so she promised to help. Within a year, a new Administration Bldg. was constructed complete with tiled floors, water and electrical facilities. With the support of the whole Feliciano family, mostly residing in the U.S., two years later, a new Library Bldg. and Media Center was constructed, complete with adequate supply of books, magazines and periodicals sent from the US. Later on, a Computer Laboratory Room was likewise constructed. All of these infrastructure projects and facilities were funded solely by the Feliciano family through their Fund for the Lord. The two buildings were named after her parents and after Mrs. Rizalina Raz Feliciano, respectively.
          I'm writing these aforementioned stories of missionary compassion, benevolence, charity and philanthropy as an eye-opener to our countrymen abroad who left their homeland to seek greener pastures and become naturalized citizens of their adopted country. It is with fervent prayer and hope that some of our countrymen upon reading those stories, might be touched and awakened in their dormant sense of patriotism so that they could also share a part of their God-given bounty to the less fortunate and needy town mates, especially for any worthy and noble projects and undertakings for community welfare. To quote Mrs. Feliciano, "God has given us the gifts so we give some of it to others and be a part of that gift because we have a philanthropic mission." Charles Simons said: "If you would take your possessions into the life to come, convert them into good deeds."