“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This proverb resonates my mind as no less than Sen. Cynthia Villar, managing director of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation & Governance (SIPAG) Foundation gave us a day tour of just some of the initiatives she and her better half, former Senate President Manny Villar, spearheaded to help their impoverished constituents in Las Pinas.
In a poor country like ours, every politician would come to learn that many of our kababayans would rely on help from their local mayor, congressman or senator for food, school, work and even medical assistance.
It is apparently because of this cycle in a politician’s life which prompted Mr. and Mrs. Villar to think of ways outside the box and fund livelihood projects almost for every barangay in their hometown.
In five barangays we toured for our “Lakbay Aral” activity one Saturday ago, the foundation has set up a processing plant for organic fertiliser and for plastic garbage which were used to manufacture school chairs. Then there is a production house for water lily products such baskets and recycled paper; a livelihood centre for hand loom weaving; and training centre for making coco fiber and peat out of ‘used’ coconut husks.
Nothing goes to waste. You just have to be creative to find ways and make things happen, says Sen. Cynthia Villar who imparts her wisdom to a select group of media who joined the “Lakbay Aral”.
This also goes to show that their campaign slogan 2010, when her hubby and SIPAG Foundation chairman, Sen. Manny, ran for presidency, is not just for publicity. Indeed, they live and impart the attitude of “Sipag at Tiyaga” (Hardwork and Perseverance).
By educating people about recycling plastic, the Foundation hopes that there will be no plastic clogging waterways in the near future. This way, we can avoid major floods caused by poor and clogged drainage systems.
Water lilies used to clog the Las Pinas rivers and waterways. Now, these water lilies are means for livelihood by local residents. An international designer firm now uses the water lilies in its bag collection. Meanwhile, the sleeping mats are sent to evacuation centers during disasters.