ORMOC CITY – “Each boat has a story”, 4th district of Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez told members of the Ormoc Federation of Small Fishermen Association, when she distributed 23 motorized fishing boats to them during the city’s feast day on June 29 (Sunday). “A story of generosity, care and kindness that cut across the globe, from all creed, colors and nationality”, she said in the dialect.
Pointing to 10 red and white boats with the mark “Chippy” on its side, she said the boats were a personal donation by Robinsons’ heiress Liza Gokongwei to her “6200: Mission Possible” campaign for boat donations. She also said that Chippy is her favorite snack food and urged those listening to try eating it like chicharon or pork rind crackling, pairing it with vinegar.
Another 11 boats, she added, were the donations of one “Betty Lim”. They only bore the numbers 1 to 10 and 88 on its sides. “I do not know Betty Lim personally but I opened up my email one morning and saw her intent to donate 11 boats. Thank you, Ms Betty Lim”, she said.
One green boat, on the other hand, was donated by a group of friends in the US. It was marked “Boca Greens Country Club”. The last one was marked “ROSAM”. Rep. Gomez said it a Rotarian she was sitting beside donated it during a club visit.
Rep. Gomez also announced that the next day, she was flying off to Shanghai to meet the officers and members of the Rotary Club of Shanghai. The club has signified its intention to donate 300 boats and she was going there with Palompon Mayor Ramon Oñate to get the check donation for 100 boats.
“I have practically been to every Rotary Club in the national capital region”, she said, pitching in for her Yolanda relief drive. The fishing boat campaign is the one closest to her heart, she said, because it was the realization of the saying “Give man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. The fishing community is also the poorest sector, she said, with their livelihoods dependent on the climate.
“You are getting fishing boats because we would want to see you live for a lifetime, and pass on the boats to your future generation”, Rep. Gomez told the fishermen, as she explained that the fishing boats were made of fiberglass, said to last more than 20 years.
She added that the boats are constructed at their yard at Carlota Hills, to save on costs. The cost of transporting a boat was expensive, “almost the cost of one more boat”, that they decided to make the boats here. Richard, she said, volunteered the yard of their house in Ormoc for it.
To date, the congresswoman has distributed around 300 boats to fishermen in her district.
She has also raised donations of 10,000 shelter kits, the most recent distribution was on Friday, June 27, held at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, aside from various donations of rice, clothing and relief goods. 2,000 shelter kits more than P 3,000.00 each were distributed to deserving recipients.
That morning, she also received one 20-footer van of rice from the Taiwan Association, Inc. which had 2 tons of rice in 10-kilo packs.
Yolanda, she said, was a life-changer for her. Not a techno-geek before, the first thing she does now every morning is to check her mail to see who has responded to her call for donations. On the evenings, she composes letters to people she has met, to appeal for donations.
She also told fishermen that she keeps everything transparent. “Every donation and the names of recipient are posted on my website www.irebuildormoc.com”, she said. By LMJ