By Marc Tagub Posted 22 October 2010
GINGOOG CITY (October 17, 2010) — “Let’s make it bigger next year,” says Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (KPMFI) Executive Director Ariel Hernandez while looking at over 500 people who were all in a celebratory mood inside Arturo Lugod Gymnasium in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. That was also Hernandez’ remark last year when the number of community partners who were able to put aside work for the day to join KPMFI’s third anniversary was about 300. KPMFI’s fourth year anniversary was indeed bigger and more festive. This year KPMFI’s celebrates with a guiding principle of taking the lead in creating globally competitive models of social enterprise and entrepreneurs. The week-long celebration of four years of working towards the empowerment of communities and individual partners in rural localities of Gingoog City, towns in MisOret and of the municipalities of Claveria and Magsaysay ended with a grand closing last October 17, Sunday. The day’s festivity started early with the first-ever Chicken Festival in the Philippines. Engr. Susano Balais II, KPMFI Business Development Services Team Leader, explains that the Chicken Festival is a symbolic celebration of the farmers’ transformation from being farm workers to become social entrepreneurs. “The celebration is not about chickens,” says Balais, “it’s about the entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial endeavors of these farmers.” With the partnership of KPMFI, Anakciano Inc., and most recently Bangko sa Balay Foundation Inc. (BBFI), Backyard Broiler Production has become a winning social enterprise of many farmers in KPMFI partner communities. The Chicken Festival included the Chicken Float Parade with 6 delegates and Chicken Dance, which had six participants all from Magsaysay, Gingoog and Claveria. The young dancers from Claveria bagged the top price. The Chicken Recipe contest’s top prize was also bagged by Claveria. There was also the Chicken Sugbahanay, the first-ever community chicken barbeque grilling and first in Misamis Oriental. Chicken growers lined up in a long rectangular grill and prepared over 600 chicken barbeques, which were shared for lunch. The morning activity was hosted by KPMFI Staff Dorina Marie Elumbaring and Jonathan Baja.
The fourth anniversary was a celebration with many firsts for KPMFI. It was the first time for KPMFI Board members Ed dela Torre and Gerry Bulatao to join the event. Dela Torre shares that October 17 was a symbolic date. Little did KPMFI know that October 16 is the International Day of Hunger, while October 18 is the International Day of Food. Dela Torre expressed that “it is almost symbolic that October 17 bridges October 16 and 18, it’s like KPMFI bridging hunger to food.” Bulatao presented a motivating brief speech about the greatness of people who are hopeful and who are working towards getting themselves out of poverty. He pointed out a farmer who said “I will graduate from poverty.” Bulatao believes that every hardworking people can. Another “first” that was celebrated was KPMFI’s recognition as being the First St. Vincent de Paul Awardee. This recognition was given by Adamson University for KPMFI’s social entrepreneurship works. Pamela Mantuhac and Sally Jo Bellosillo of Adamson University came to join the celebration. Both Hernandez and Mantuhac clarified that the award was a recognition of KPMFI community partners who have shown transformation and who have become empowered through social enterprise. The highlight of the day’s celebration was the first Katilingbanong Pamahandi Awards. These awards were given to active, dynamic members and leaders of their community’s organizations for almost 4 years, including active participation in their Barangay Development Councils and have been consistent in being Top Performing Growers for 3 to 4 years through Backyard Broiler Production Projects. KPMFI Chief Operating Officer Richard S. Rejas explains that the KP Awards are recognition to model social entrepreneurs. KPMFI CEDPeace Team Leader Fleurabelle Torres comments that KPMFI wishes that more people will try to emulate the examples of the KP Awardees. The KP Awardees are Luis Dulangon of Barangay Cabacungan, Claveria; Dexter Aquiño of Barangay Artadi, Magsaysay; and Adela Dalapo, Barangay Libertad, Gingoog City. Dalapo, in her brief acceptance statement, said that she too “will graduate from poverty,” a remark that was well applauded. Other individuals who came to celebrate were Dijo Songco and Monica, students from Ateneo de Manila who lead the Project 50, which imparted contribution to the KP Awards; Lt. Col. Buey Bagaipo and Lt. Emerson Nelvis; and Gingoog City Vice Mayor Eric Cañosa. KPMFI’s fourth year anniversary’s week-long celebration included visiting the Batang Himsog Feeding Program last October 11 and 12, Siglakas (sportsfest for the staff) last October 13 and 14.