BUILDING HOMES FOR THE POOR
TORONTO’S GK ADVOCATE IS ILONGGO
DEALERSHIP GOLD WORLD CHAMPION
“If 11 million Filipinos abroad will create nine homes each, there will be no poor in the Philippines.”
By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Canada — Ilonggos in the Philippines thought they have lost a worthy business leader when low-key enterpreneur Alfredo “Pidoy” Pacis and his family migrated here 12 years ago.
They did not. In fact, Pidoy’s legacy will stay and live forever in Pototan, Iloilo where he, together with Couples For Christ, town officials, and Saladmasters International recently awarded in a ceremony 10 of the expected 100 beneficiaries of the Gawad Kalinga (GK), a church-based project that will give homes to the homeless.
The project, which aims to transform poverty stricken areas in the country with goal of building 700,000 homes in seven years (2003-2010), sits in an area of the seven-hectare agro industrial zone in Brgy. Lumbo, Pototan, a second class municipality 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City.
During the lunching of the project in August 2008, Pidoy brought Keith Peterson, president of the Saladmaster International, who assisted Mayor Pablo Perez, municipal officials, and Couples For Christ chapter coordinator Pat Penaflorida in the bayanihan-type building of homes.
“We wish to transform the area from ordinary to model village,” declared Pacis, who is director of Filipino Business Development based in Toronto, Ontario. “Our vision is to provide livelihood to the poor and a caretaker group will be the recipient of various projects that we are planning to provide there such as the multi-purpose hall where they can use to congregate.”
Pidoy, who teams up with wife Carmela “Ting” in their AC Tristar company that deals with Saladmasters products in Ontario, plans to make the project as his “legacy program when I retire someday.”
They have three children–Francis Clyde, 26, who serves as the company administrative coordinator and consultant; Kim Christian, 21; and Ron Frederick, 13.
The family company, which trains, educates people and offers motivation through books, videos, and testimonies has netted several Gold World Champion awards as Saladmasters senior dealer in North America.
Before the town fiesta on May 8, Pidoy is thinking of launching a “Balikbayan GK Day” which will help inspire successful Filipinos living abroad to spearhead the campaign of helping the poor through GK.
DIGNITY TO THE POOR
“Let us bring back dignity to the poor; educate them and instill values that will ignite changes in community, changes in their attitude and behavior; a silent revolution change,” Pidoy chortled.
Pidoy said five percent of the11 Filipino diaspora or those living abroad are wealthy “and there is a calling from the Lord for this 11 million Filipinos to go abroad and help those who are poor in the Philippines.”
As the number two exporter of human labor all over the world, Pidoy said “we have the ability and capacity to help and build a community; opportunity can be committed if there is a well.”
Pidoy believes that GK project “is a transcending point which goes beyond the building of community; this is patriotism outside the Philippines.”
Pidoy said in time of economic crisis, “Filipinos need new challenge and inspiration. We Filipinos are known to be resilient and we need to create an ability to gather as one group to become cohesive.”
“Real home,” according to Pidoy “is creating homes for those who have less.”
If 11 million Filipinos abroad will create nine homes each, there will be no poor in the Philippines, Pidoy said.
Pidoy, whose mother Gloria Penafiel served as Pototan councilor for 20 years, exhorts business leaders and the rich to “rally in the transcending cause beyond personal and group interest.”
He believes that the wealthy in Iloilo and other places in the Philippines can also come up with their own efforts and see the value in GK cause.”
Pidoy urges his countrymen to “perform with passion and purpose.”
“Just give what your heart dictates, give without any condition; you don’t need to be rich to give. We are not here as coincidences; we have a calling,” Pidoy concluded.
“Let’s have a radical change,” Pidoy stressed. “Filipinos abroad are ready to embrace this change. We need change and hope for both the poor and the donors.”