Gawad Kalinga

Archive for June, 2010

GK Founder Antonio Meloto turns down Aquino offer to be housing czar

by admin on Jun.29, 2010, under Community Building

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer

original link:

SINGAPORE—GAWAD KALINGA (GK) founder Antonio Meloto said the post of housing czar was offered to him by President-elect Benigno Aquino III but he turned it down.

In a media interview on the sidelines of the second Global Summit of the GK Community Development Foundation held here, Meloto said he discussed the offer with Aquino’s sisters, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada, recently.

At the end of the talks, Meloto said he refused the offer to join the Aquino Cabinet because he felt he would be more effective as a private citizen and philanthropist.

“I can do more for my country by not being a Cabinet official,” said the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for community leadership.

Meloto was also the Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year in 2006.

Aquino, who won the presidential elections last month, is putting together his political family and has revealed some of his Cabinet appointments that included former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, La Salle Br. Armin Luistro, and Commission on Human Rights Chair Leila de Lima.

GK expansion

Aquino will take over from President Macapagal-Arroyo on June 30.

Meloto is the second RM awardee offered a post in the Aquino government. Former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, the 2000 RM awardee for government service, was also offered the post of heading the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Meloto said he would rather focus on strengthening and promoting GK, which is expanding its projects to other Asian countries.

GK is a nonprofit organization that builds houses and develops livelihood programs for poor communities in the Philippines and other developing countries.

Movement for nation-building

According to Meloto, developed countries like Singapore and Australia recognize GK not just as a charity organization but also as “a movement for nation-building.”

Schools and government agencies in these countries send students and representatives to the Philippines, through GK, to learn skills for community-building and conduct research studies.

Some companies send investment projects and financial assistance to the Philippines also via GK.

Another GK volunteer

Meloto said foreign governments and organizations were willing to support GK because it is a private, nonprofit organization not connected to the government.

If he joined the Aquino government, Meloto said foreign governments might not trust GK anymore.

“They don’t trust politicians,” he said.

The man Meloto was supposed to replace, outgoing Vice President Noli de Castro, said he would join GK as a full-time volunteer after his stint in government.

De Castro, the country’s housing czar, has been helping GK for seven years.

“I will continue to be a supporter of GK. As a private citizen, I will be active in GK activities and programs. I have been supporting this movement for the past seven years and it’s been a learning and a rewarding experience for me,” he said in his speech at the opening of the GK summit on Friday night.

“So now, you can all start calling me Tito (Uncle) Noli,” De Castro said, referring to how senior GK officials are addressed.

Back to broadcasting

The vice president commended GK for helping alleviate the housing problems of the poor and fostering “partnerships” that promote “nation-building.”

De Castro chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) which provides loans to Filipino homeowners.

When his term ends next week, De Castro is reportedly looking forward to returning to broadcasting.

Asian template

The second Global Summit of GK Community Development Foundation which opened on Friday at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the National University of Singapore was attended by over 500 delegates from Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, the United States and Australia. They came to hear different speakers from the academe, the business sector and government share about their involvement in nation-building and community development.

GK began with Couples For Christ (CFC) as a ministry to help the poor, but has since grown to a larger movement focused on nation-building and engaging all faiths and cultures. Today, it has touched almost 2,000 communities in the Philippines and has started to build villages in Indonesia, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. Last year, the GK Hope Initiative (GKHI) was set up in Singapore to be the hub for the movement’s growth in Southeast Asia.

GK has been recognized as the Asian template against poverty. With universities from around the world now taking interest in its ground-up development, the organization is moving from its first phase called Social Justice (seven years addressing landlessness, homelessness and hunger), to Social Artistry (the next seven years of excellence, design and sustainability).

GK has a 21-year development timeline that started in 2003. Divided into three phases, the last phase is Social Progress, which aims to end poverty for five million families in the country by 2024.

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by admin on Jun.29, 2010, under Community Building


original linK:

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Ramon Magsaysay awardee and Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio Meloto]

SINGAPORE, JUNE 28, 2010 (STAR) By Helen Flores – Ramon Magsaysay awardee and Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio Meloto called on fellow Asians to help developing countries eradicate poverty.

Meloto, together with representatives from the public and private sector in the Philippines, launched here over the weekend Gawad Kalinga as the Asian model of development against poverty.

“We urge Asians to rise above our divisions and ensure that our economic gains will close the gap between the rich and the poor and ensure that no one gets left behind,” Meloto told participants of the 2nd Global Gawad Kalinga Summit held at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic here.

“This is the GK way: Asians caring for Asians, Asians ending poverty in Asia,” he said.

Meloto said GK’s strategy is to create a template in every town and to replicate this in every village (barangay) with support from the local government units.

In 2006, Meloto received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

Meanwhile, Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymond Villafuerte, who was one of the speakers in the summit, has thrown his support to GK in its effort to help other Asian countries in combating poverty.

“Asians ending poverty in Asia starts with Filipinos ending poverty in the Philippines,” Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte said he himself was inspired by GK to eliminate poverty in his province.

“If there is one thing that binds Gawad Kalinga and CamSur, it is our common belief in responsible development. Our projects are not only progress-oriented, they are purpose-driven. Our people are not only conscientious workers, they have the conscience and the compassion for the poor,” he said.

Villafuerte said CamSur has the biggest GK communities in the country.

He said GK homes in his province have been transformed into mini-economic centers that promote local tourism.

“From building homes, we are now re-building lives. From building communities we are now building a sustainable and self-reliant future for our people,” he said.

Villafuerte said CamSur is hosting the biggest marathon in September which aims to benefit various non-government organizations, including Gawad Kalinga.

With this year’s theme “Gawad Kalinga Summit 2010: Icon of Hope against Poverty,” GK honored outstanding Asians, including the late former President Corazon Aquino, who have made heroic sacrifices to grow the GK movement.

It also honored GK village builders from Singapore, particularly students of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic who have just finished their internship in GK communities in the Philippines this year.

Since 2007, Gawad Kalinga has been providing internship program to students of the NUS and Ngee Ann Polytechnic in its GK communities in the Philippines.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic principal Chia Mia Chiang said the study trips “have transformed our students.”

“As an example, they have learned the importance of finding happiness in simplicity and the value of friendship,” he said.

Meloto said GK aims to build homes for 700,000 families living in extreme poverty this year.

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