A TOTAL of P3.5 million cash prize was given by former Senate President Manny Villar, Senator Cynthia Villar and Las Pinas Rep. Mark Villar to winners of the nationwide search for community enterprises that have been instruments in reducing poverty.
The awardees received their cash reward and a plague of appreciation in the simple ceremony at Villar SIPAGBldg. on C-5 Road Extension in Brgy. Pulang Lupa, Las Pinas on the occasion of 64th birthday of the former Senate President. The former senator, also founding chairman of Villar SIPAG Awards, stressed that 100 percent of the cash prize came from their dividends from the family-owned Vista Land.
In his inspirational speech, he noted that while the economy is doing well, the rich becomes richer so that “little is left in the hands” of the poor.
“This is not surprising, but this is not also good,” further stated the former senator.
He lamented that the country had been ravaged by many disasters, “as if we are being challenged.”
“We had the Zamboanga crisis, the Bohol earthquake that toppled centuries-old churches, the Napoles chaos that was even known in the whole world, and just recently, super typhoon Yolanda. These all happened within a few months,” he said.
However, he related that many foreigners have looked up on Filipinos’ resilience in withstanding the series of calamities that have stricken the country. Because of the various disasters, they came up with this effort to help alleviate the lives of poor Filipinos.
The Villar SIPAG Awards, launched last August, intends to recognize community enterprises as models of good practices in poverty reduction. It honors community enterprises that have been helping their communities in minimizing poverty.
For her part, Sen. Villar said the award acknowledges the best community social enterprises that give jobs and livelihood to our countrymen.
She stressed poverty remains the main problem of the country, so “this is our way of helping people out of poverty.”
“I am happy that 10 of the 20 winners came from the Mindanao region. This means that the Island is fighting poverty despite all its problems,” said the neophyte senator.
Aside from lauding the efforts of all the winners, she specifically cited the San Francisco Association of Differently Abled Person Multi Purpose Cooperative which is based in San Francisco, Agusan Del Norte.
“This is a cooperative of disabled persons,” said Villar of the group involved in the manufacture of chairs and other furniture.
It was founded by its manager Roland Ordona who was bedridden for two years after suffering from a spinal column injury. The National Federation of COOP for Persons with Disability gave the cooperative their initial project involving 360 units of arm chair made of steel and fiber board.
In 2008, the group got their biggest project from the Department of Education with P18 million worth of armchair at P700/chair. At present, they supply armchairs to other provinces.
The nine other Most Outstanding Community Enterprises are:
- Andres M. Soriano Employees Fresh Fruits Cooperative in Kapalong, Davao del Norte; Baclaran Vendors Development Cooperative, Baclaran Parañaque;
- Bukluran Multi Purpose Cooperative, Dasmariñas, Cavite;
- Kalasag Farmers Producers Cooperative, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija;
- Malapatan Multi Purpose Cooperative, Malapatan, Sarangani;
- Nueva Segovia Consortium Cooperative, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur;
- Paglaum Multi Purpose Cooperative, Misamis, Occidental;
- People’s Alliance for Progress Multi Purpose Cooperative, Panamao, Sulu;
- San Francisco Associations of Differently-Abled Person Multi Purpose Cooperative San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur
- San Joaquin Multi Purpose Cooperative, Sarat, Ilocos Norte.
The 10 Most Promising Community Enterprises:
- Catmon Multipurpose Cooperative in Catmon, Sta. Maria, Bulacan;
- Davao Ventures Employees Cooperative, Calinan, Davao City;
- Danlugan Farmers Multi Purpose Cooperative, Danlugan, Pagadian City;
- Davao Oriental Coco Husk Social Enterprises, Inc., San Isidro, Davao Oriental;
- Ipil Market Vendors Multi Purpose Cooperative, Ipil, Zambaonga Sigubay;
- Light House Cooperative;
- Paco Soriano Pandacan Development Cooperative, Paco, Manila;
- People’s Officials, Employees and Community Multi Purpose Cooperative, Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte;
- Southern Iloilo Area Multipurpose Cooperative in Oton, Iloilo at Valenzuela Development Cooperative in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila
The Villar SIPAG Awards will be conducted annually to recognize best practices of the community enterprise in increasing income and reducing poverty.