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Ateneo Grupo ‘58 gives more boats for Yolanda victims

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WHILE THE WORLD’S attention has been focused on Samar and Leyte after Yolanda ravaged the Visayas with rain and destructive winds with the velocity of up to 350 kilometers per hour, Ateneo Grupo 58 was on road three days after, delivering packages of relief canned goods, soap, rice and corn grit to Northern Cebu up to Daan Bantayan and the whole of Capiz up to coastal town of Pan-ay.


It was in Pan-ay, in the barangay of Butacal, the last stop of the group’s relief effort, that Danny Olivares, the group leader, saw the devastating havoc that Yolanda wrought on the hapless barangay.


The storm surges 20 feet high swept 2 kilometers inland, destroying houses, flattening coconut, mango, and banana trees and polluting the farm lands with salty sea water where no rice would grow.


Right there and then Olivares decided to focus and adopt the barangay, concentrating the funds and resources of the group and their other sponsors like the Salt and the Light for Christ Catholic Charismatic Community in Manila, the Radiowealth Finance Corporation in Roxas City, and the Prince of Peace Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States to rehabilitate the livelihood of Butacal’s fisherman whose fishing boats were totally destroyed by Yolanda.


Using the wooden hulls saved by the fisherman, Olivares and classmate Timmy Nivera, with the help of Pan-ay’s Mayor Bermejo and his entire staff and Butacal Barangay Captain Bebot Belviz, started manufacturing wooden boats twenty four and thirty feet long.

 

Eight wooden boats fully equipped with 7 and 10 horsepower engines, outrigger, rudder, propeller and fishing nets, were rewarded to deserving fishermen by the end of January 2014. Eight more fully equipped fishing boats were awarded by the end of April.


The group produced ten more wooden pump boats from the remaining salvaged wooden hulls and then resorted to fiberglass river boats, producing twelve also fully equipped riverboats which were awarded to fishermen from sitios Blas, Limon, and Bagong Barrio, all of Barangay Butacal Friday on July 11 by the beach in front of San Antonio Resort in Baybay, Roxas City.


Olivares reasoned that helping the Yolanda victims with relief goods would not help them get back on their feet to be productive again. The best way to help rehabilitate them would be to give them back their means of livelihood, which is fishing.


Also, giving the boats would not be enough. The boats must be fully equipped with engines and bets so they could go to the deep to fish.


Ateneo Grupo 58 has also taught them to be legitimate fishermen by registering their boats with the municipality and paying their license fees. Further, while the boats were given free, the group taught them to “pay forward” and help their fellow fishermen by donating a sum like ₱500 monthly to a fund which would be used to finance more boats for those who had not yet received their boats.

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