Compassion for the poor


Good Samaritans are everywhere even in places or instances that you least expect them to be. Whether the person is a Filipino or belongs to another country is not the bone of contention. So long as your heart exudes compassion and service for others, then there are no boundaries.

“Compassion for the poor” was what drove Tichito Harada Tanaka of Villa Mamarine in Candanay Sur, Siquijor, also the Rotary Club of Siquijor Island’s International Service chairperson, to initiate projects for school children in most of the “depressed” schools in Siquijor province.

In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency not too long ago, Tanaka said that after visiting the public schools in Siquijor, he described what the schoolchildren needed most – “there was no water, no toilet” in some schools, thus, he resolved to support them.

Confessing to being a teacher himself back in Japan, Tanaka said that this must be the reason why he has a heart for schoolchildren.

As the chairperson of the Rotary Club of Siquijor Island’s International Service, Tanaka took the challenge of initiating the project he has in mind – the construction of restrooms and water system to where they are needed most.

He accepted the fact that budgetary constraints simply stopped government agencies to provide support and/or sustained the project. “But I am glad the provincial government of Siquijor supported me,” Tanaka said as he described the people he had met as “his good friends.”

Foreign donors were tapped to finance the project. Tanaka’s drive to explore means and get financial support led him to a publication of his “help-the-children-of Siquijor-Island” appeal in various Japanese newspapers. It reached a number of willing hearts, he said.

In 2006, the Japanese, through the Rotary Club of Siquijor Island, has constructed restrooms and water systems in five depressed schools of Maria, Lazi, and Larena towns. These are the elementary schools of Pisong A and B of Maria; Capalasanan and Po-o of Lazi, and New Bataan of Larena.

“We are very happy for his generosity,” says the teacher-in-charge of one of the school beneficiaries. “We hope they continue to give more support to us.”

The donation of Ps 200,000 that financed the project came from the Rotary Club of Japan.

Another Ps 400,000 was set up for toilet/water projects to eight far-flung schools, this time, in Siquijor town. One of these schools is Cantabon Elementary School of which construction of six restrooms was initially started.

As one of his hobbies, Tanaka conducted animated shows and educational programs to Cantabon school pupils as another way to enhance learning.

With a population of 182 pupils and 9 teachers at that time, Cantabon is one of the schools in the province with the highest incidence of poor readers, it was learned.

While lauding the Japanese’s initiative to help the Department of Education carry out its goals of improving public education, the teachers through the Division Office also thanked the provincial government for reaching out and for their continuous support to its program.

“Through our collective effort, we can provide good facilities for our children that could boost their moral standards,” an education supervisor shared.

Japanese investments in the country have been described as a “testimony of the positive investment environment in the country.”  

Meanwhile, a self-assessment management development system initiated by the Department of Interior and Local Government to help local government units improve governance and enhance the delivery of basic services in their respective localities is now being adopted in 68 provinces, 98 cities, and 1,252 municipalities nationwide.

In Siquijor province, all six municipal LGUs and the provincial government through the local office of the DILG have adopted the Internet-based Local Government Performance Management System since 2005, according to its coordinator Karen Lañohan.

Data may be viewed through the Internet by the LGU focal persons and other users for information and whatever purpose the material would serve them best.

The system can be used by local chief executives in planning their development programs, by the Sanggunian in crafting their legislative agenda, and by the LGU department heads as a guide in mapping out their plans of action.

It aims to support the development of LGUs through the improved use of their respective financial and human resources, gauge local government performance against established standards, and inform national policy-makers on the state of development at the local level.

The Bureau of Local Government Supervision has been periodically conducting seminars in various provinces, cities, and towns in the use of the management assessment system to help LGUs tap the advantages of information technology for effective governance.

The system helps local governments conduct a self evaluation of their performance in the following service areas: 1) governance; 2) administration; 3) social services; 4) economic development; and, 5) environmental management.

With the application of the system, weak service areas needing enhancement could be identified, as well as the extent of improvements necessary in the quality and quantity of basic services being provided to the citizenry. – NWI