Through the patience, innate goodness, and generosity of the volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation, around 994 marginalized families in Tabaco City, Albay received 20-kilogram sack of premium Taiwanese rice each during the organization's rice relief program which was conducted in the above-mentioned place last July 24.
The recipients came from Tabaco City's 15 barangays which include those of Tayhi, Cormidal, Bacolod, San Lorenzo, San Juan, Panal, Matagbac, Fatima, San Vicente, Divino Rostro, San Carlos, Cobo, Basud, Bongnabong, and Baranghawon.
Also present were Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro, Albay Governor Jose "Joey" Salceda and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Deputy Representative Michael P.Y. Hsu.
Tzu Chi's rice relief program started at 8:30am and ended exactly 11:15am. The activity took place in front of Tabaco City Hall.
In attendance were 200 Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila and Tabaco. The distribution took place quickly due to the enthusiasm and eagerness of the former.
A short prayer asking for love, compassion and freedom from all man-made and natural disasters was also offered by representatives of the Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths.
Prior to the distribution, ranking officials of Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines led by chief executive officer Alfredo Li informed the crowd about the foundation's charitable missions and stressed that the rice was a donation of the Taiwanese government to the Philippines, done at the behest of Master Cheng Yen, founder of the organization.
He added that a total of 5,000 metric tons were allocated to the country in a three-year period and that an initial 500 tons were shipped here last May.
From this shipment, 13,000 poor families in Marikina benefited last July 3 and 994 families in Tabaco on July 24.
Lagman-Luistro also added the Taiwanese rice distributed by the foundation will greatly support the material needs of her constituents whose fields and other sources of livelihood were devastated by the recent typhoons.
As this develops, the Tabaco mayor also informed Li and the entire Tzu Chi delegation that the city council has passed Ordinance No. 11 Series of 2011 declaring "every second Sunday of May as Tzu Chi Day" in recognition of the foundation's exceptional assistance to the locality's poor citizens.
She added that the ordinance was passed without a hitch as all the councilors voted in its favor, making it effective immediately.
Aside from this, the Tabaco local government also gave plaques of appreciation to TECO, represented by Hsu, and to the local Tzu Chi chapter in Albay for their efforts in providing the rice to the city's marginalized population.
Hsu, in an interview, said that he was very happy to take part in Tzu Chi's rice distribution project in Tabaco, adding that he finds the locals very warm and friendly.
He also assures Tzu Chi volunteers that more rice is in the offing for the country, stressing that his government was very impressed with the way the foundation sees to it that the rice is given to the poor.