Papal visit inspires KC Luzon’s ‘Ruby’ fund drive

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MANILA, Dec. 22, 2014–“Now is the time for mercy and compassion!”

Echoing the theme of next year’s papal visit, Deputy Supreme Knight for Luzon Arsenio Isidro Yap rallies more than 160,000 Knights of Columbus in the entire Luzon Jurisdiction for a fund drive to help the victims of typhoon Ruby (international code name: Hagupit).

Knights of Columbus Luzon Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

Finding inspiration in the theme of the papal visit, Yap encouraged the 260 districts and 1,200 Councils of the Knights in Luzon to donate at least Php 500 “to help the victims of Typhoon Ruby in the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar.”

Last year, the Luzon Jurisdiction helped the victims of super typhoon Yolanda, not only through the distribution of relief goods, but also through various livelihood and rehabilitation programs.

“When we asked our councils to help the victims of the ‘Habagat’, [the] Bohol earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda, the total collected donation of the Knights in Luzon reached more than 1.5 million pesos which includes the Supreme Council’s donation of Php 450,000,” he said.

Some of the collected funds were used to initially purchase four motorized pump boats for the livelihood of the fisherfolk beneficiaries totaling Php 200,000 and pledged Php 200,000 worth of hollow block-making machines both powered and manually operated for reconstruction efforts in the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar, one of the worst hit by Yolanda.

The Knights also bought four chainsaws which the victims used to make coco lumber out of the felled coconut trees. These lumber were used for the building of temporary shelters for the victims. These chainsaws are rotated on a two-month cycle per parish.

“We gave the cash, relief goods and chainsaws last December 2013 and the four bancas last June 2014. When we handed over the bancas to the four beneficiaries including one brother knight, I interviewed the brother knight and asked him how much his potential daily income would be? He told me it’s about P1,000 a day,” Yap said.

He said the small donated amount, instead of being allocated for relief efforts, actually became a very good investment for the victims.

“According to our estimation, the four chainsaws can produce Php 14.4M worth of coco lumber. Even if you reduce this to half, P7.2M is still very substantial considering our investment of only P260,000 for the four chainsaws,” he said.

Yap added that instead of donating relief goods, the Knights focused more on giving livelihood projects to the victims to help them become productive again.

He enjoins everyone, including non-KC members to help in the fund drive. “This is one of the ways we can best exemplify the theme of the papal visit. Let us be true agents of mercy and compassion,” he said.

He calls everyone to “exercise your virtue of charity to the limits even if it hurts and help us help Borongan. May God be with us in this worthwhile undertaking. Vivat Jesus!” (Rommel Lopez/CBCPNews)

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