Saturday, June 20, 2015

District Team Visit

Last week, June, the team of incoming District Officers led by DGE Pepito "Peps" Bengzon, visited our club. PP Rose Antonio prepared the Club Bulletin and she asked me  to write an article for it. Beautiful paper, thanks PP Rose. The DGE's Team liked it.

Below is my article. I insert some photos that night. All photos from PE Patty Mangondato.

15 by 15, the membership challenge

PP Nonoy Oplas

Last March 2015, the Rotary Club of Taguig Fort Bonifacio turned 15 years old. It was founded in late March 2000 when Fort Bonifacio was newly privatized and development  of the area was at an infancy stage. Very few buildings, there were more tall cogons and wild trees than  buildings in the area there.

Fast forward to June 2015. The term of our 14th Club President, World Class(?) President  Regie Necio is ending soon and President-Elect Patty Mangundatu-Michener will officially head the club in three weeks time. 

Our club membership over the past few years has averaged about 15, or average 15 members after 15 years. Hence the title, “15 by 15”.

It is not exactly a big number to be proud of as we have remained a small club with less than 20 members for more than a decade now. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many active members and Past Presidents are non-residents or non-personnel of Fort Bonifacio Global City (FBGC). Formerly working in FBGC, yes.

More than half of the 14 Club President used to work at the city. They were  Charter President Bob Dimayuga (he served twice, first during the last 4 months of RY 1999-2000 and on the first year of the club), Past Presidents Charles Mercado, Jed Inciong, Caloy Morante, Joel Ciron, Romel Villegas, Niel Antonio, Norlan de Leon and Meann de Leon. PP Rose Antonio is the wife of PP Niel Antonio.

Some of these Past Presidents who remain active at the club and used to work at FBGC live far from the city. Like Norlan and Meann who live in Marilao, Bulacan;  Niel and Rose who live in Antipolo, Rizal. President Regie lives in  Quezon City.

It is good that PE Patty lives in Taguig. Not directly working at FBGC but nonetheless is a resident of Taguig and has some clients in the city. She is also very friendly and a good singer, a character that easily earns her many new friends and  acquaintances.

Despite the small membership of the club, it has not discouraged our club Presidents, past and present, from producing some outstanding achievements. President Regie received a number of awards in the recent District Awards night. Immediate Past President Meann de  Leon received an excellent performance award, especially with the “Fish for Life” project. A sister club from RC Koln, Germany, gave the club a substantial amount of donation to help the fisherfolks of Taguig in Laguna lake. The pictures, personal testaments of the fishermen-beneficiaries and their spouses, statements by the barangay leaders were proof of how successful that project was.

15 by 15 is a challenge for club membership to grow significantly. We hope it  will be 16-20 by 16 (16-20 members by 2016) and further rise  in the succeeding years.

RI and the leadership of District 3830 have been very helpful to us, especially our past and current District Governors and Assistant Governors for the cluster. They have not been lacking in helping our club in both community projects and membership development.

The big challenge and accountability for club growth remains with us, active club members. With the friendly and singing charisma of PE Patty, we hope we can surmount past hurdles that keep hounding us until today. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Club Awards from the District and RI

Last May 31, 2015, RI District 3830 held the District Awards at RCBC Plaza, Makati City. The District Awards is among the important events because it is a period of recognition and great appreciation for the efforts of the different clubs for their various community and club services.

Our club won five awards. Hats off to Pres. Reginaldo "Reggie" Necio. Great job, President.

Pres. Reggie on the right, and President-Elect (PE) Fatima "Patty" Mangondato. Photo taken in one of the District training seminars this RY.

PE Patty is another energetic leader. Good luck Patty, and thanks once again, Pres. Reggie.

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Class President Maryann de Leon

The term of our Immediate Past President (IPP), First Class President (FCP) Maryann "Meann" de Leon has ended and I have not written much about her service to the club, the communities, and the District.

Here she is -- a passionate, cheerful and hardworking leader who steered our club to several projects that were noticed and recognized by the District leadership.

FCP Meann's achievement is special because she and her husband, fellow club Past President Norlan de Leon, live in Marilao, Bulacan. Just driving to Makati or Fort Bonifacio almost weekly is already a time-consuming and costly activity. The couple used to work at Fort Bonifacio in the 2000s before they got married. Hence, they were among the early club members.

FCP Meann receiving her award from First Class Governor Robert Kuan at the stage. What a great recognition for a small club with limited resources but has attained huge  impact on some poor communities, especially the fisherfolks of Taguig earning a living at Laguna Lake.

This is the special award that our club got from the District. Only a few clubs got it --  a Silver Star Award for Outstanding Perfomance for RY 2013-14. The District Awards were held at Gloria Maris, Greenhills, San Juan, last June 14, 2014.

Among the achievements of IPP/FCP Meann was expanding the dues-paying club membership, and several high-impact community projects, like the "Fish for Life Project" in a great partnership with the Rotary Club of Koln-Ville in Cologne, Germany.

Below is among the other awards from the District that day.

Our indefatigable Assistant Governor for the Cluster, Chary Misa (holding the painting).

At the District Handover ceremony at Sofitel Hotel last June 30, 2014. Standing from left: Past Presidents (PPs) Rose Antonio, husband Niel Antonio, Best President Regie Necio,  FCP Meann. Sitting from left: PP Norlan de Leon, Mike Michener, Patty Michener.

 A club fellowship at Wensha spa, FCP Meann's treat as her term was ending, May 26, 2014. The de Leon couple-PPs is very kind and gallant to club members, the same with the Antonio couple-PPs.

Another club fellowship-meeting at the Manila Elks Club, Makati. Mike is a new member of the Elks Club. Between me and Mike was the singer that night.

Thank you very much, IPP Meann. Your kindness and hard work for the club and its members, the communities and the District are well-noted and appreciated.

See also:
Medical Mission at Philippine Cerebral Palsy Inc., September 05, 2013
Governor Robert Kuan's Visit, Part 2, September 26, 2013
Joint Club Meeting with Jules Maaten as Speaker, May 13, 2014
Fish for Life Project, Taguig-Laguna Lake, June 03, 2014

Best President Regie Necio, Early Meetings

Our new Club President, Best President Reginaldo "Regie" Necio, was a reluctant leader, like most if not all  of us in our club. He has led the club for the past three months already, so far it was fine. 

Photo below during the Joint Club Induction of 3 clubs -- RC Taguig Fort Bonifacio, RCc Taguig West, and RC Metropolitan Pateros -- August 2, 2014, held at the Elks Club, Makati.

"Best President", "Best Governor", "Best District Team" are the titles of this rotary year's batch of leaders, from RI to the 500+ Districts worldwide, to all the Club Presidents.

Group photo of the 3 Clubs' Best Presidents, with District 3830 Best Governor Angelito "Lito" Colona.

Pres. Regie with his  wife and only son, to his right.

The first Joint Club meeting with RC Taguig West, with AG Chary Mesa, sitting left most, July 7, 2014.

Club meeting with guest, Dale Abenojar, August 18, 2014.

Another club meeting with new member Ritchie Mauricio, standing rightmost, last September 1.

Meeting with two Barangay officials of Brgy. San Miguel, Taguig City, last September 22.

It was in preparation for our club's "Happy Barangay" project. From left: Patty Michener, Pres. Regie, Mike Michener, the two barangay officials.

Good work so far, President Regie, thanks.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fish for Life Project, Taguig-Laguna Lake

Our Rotary Club of Taguig Fort Bonifacio, RI District 3830, had a wonderful partnership with another club from Germany, the Rotary Club of Koln-Ville in Cologne. The latter's Club President, Stephan Zilkens, wrote to our Club President, Meann de Leon, asking how they can help some fishermen in Laguna Lake which they saw and read, were badly affected by a strong typhoon last year. Our club President replied to him, and the partnership was established.

 Club Secretary Patty Mangundatu-Michener was a great partner to President Meann in identifying the project location, beneficiaries and local (barangay and city) officials who can make the project implemented quick.

 It is a two-phase project. First the distribution of fish nets to affected fisherfolks, and Second, a knife fish processing, for the spouses of fishermen.

The good news is that knife fish is edible. It doesn't have to be thrown away, it can be processed into fish products like fish balls, fish patties, fish dumplings, fish nuggets, fish longanisa, fish hotdog and some other fish meals that one can think of which can be sold in the market.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Joint Club Meeting with Jules Maaten as Speaker

It was a very educational lecture in philosophy and politics given by Jules Maaten Tuesday night last week at our Rotary Club of Taguig Fort Bonifacio, along with RC Makati Pio del Pilar.

 Not many people were able to come though although they really wanted to hear Jules' talk. Like at least three from the Initiatives for Filipino Liberty (IFL) group, at least three from our club, and so on. So this blog post is for those who were not able to come and regular readers of this blog.

At the onset, Jules defined Liberalism as:

* It is the philosophy of liberty
* It is a philosophy of empowerment
* Origin in protecting the individual against institutions of power.

This quote from JS Mill, among the classical thinkers of liberal philosophy, is clear and direct.

Then Jules specified how the  philosophy is applied, Liberalism in Politics:

* Protection of individual rights
* Equality of all human beings under the law
* Balance and separation of powers
* Belief in liberal representative democracy
* Balance between majority rule and the rights of the minority
* Weary of (state) authority, but state is rights guarantor
* Limitation and decentralisation of government powers
* Separation of church and state

I like this quote from my favorite economist and philosopher, F. Hayek. Yes, allow people to decide things for themselves, to make mistakes, to excel.

Then he discussed what is Liberalism in Economics:

* Belief in free enterprise and free markets with many players
* Protection of private property
* Support for free trade
* Privatisation of services better provided by the private sector
* Competition, no private monopolies
* Role for state where market does not function (education, environment, culture, social policies)
* Don’t leave debts to future generations.

The last item is important. As Germany and many European and rich economies go deeper and deeper in public debt, with huge interest payment annually, the economic freedom and well being of the future generation is heavily compromised.

John Locke is among the classical thinkers advocating individual freedom and limiting the role and intervention power of government.

Jules discussed the broader application of Liberalism in Society:

* Protection and expansion of civil rights and liberties
* Free speech, religious freedom and freedom of association
* A free, strong and active civil society
* Personal freedom, social inclusion and tolerance
* Equal rights for everybody
* Protection of our environment and that of our children.

Thus, Liberalism is a Way of Life:

* Trust and confidence in people
* Responsibility
* Tolerance and respect
* Question authority
* Unconvinced by violence and extremism
* Conviction and argument
* Optimism

Then he introduced the work of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in the Philippines. Including their work in sponsoring "Freedom Run" in several cities in the country, from Metro Manila down to the Visayas and Mindanao.

Next subject he tackled was German Politics. He said that the Merkel era (2005 to present) is a "Beacon of stability" and how the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the German political party where the FNF is affiliated, was able to partner with the Merkel government over the past few years. The 2009 election was the biggest achievement of the FDP as it got nearly 15 percent of the total votes.

In the 2013 elections though, FDP lost, it failed to get the minimum 5 percent of total votes to have seats in the Parliament, a first since WW2. FDP is now in extra-parliamentarian opposition.

Jules broadened the discussion to include European Politics. Germany is at the centre of the most successful international project ever, the creation of the European Union: Economic, Monetary and Political union.

But recently, there have been dissociation from Europeans. Like moves in some countries to get out of the Euro, get out of the monetary union and the ECB, and re-establish their own national currencies. There will be a European Elections this coming May 22-25 2014.

Jules was a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 2001-2009.

Another quote from his presentation:

"The challenge is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."
(Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1969)

The discussion during the open forum was lively and diverse. From philosophy to Europe to Philippine politics and the PNoy Aquino government.

Awarding of Certificate of Appreciation by First Class President (FCP) Maryann de Leon of RCTFB and FCP Dess Madsen of RCMPP, to the left of Jules respectively. Jules' pretty wife Eva Maaten, to his right, and our District Cluster Assistant Governor Chary Mesa (in red dress) joined.

A cake as additional recognition for his thoughts that night, from FCP Dess.

Thanks again for that very educational evening Jules.

Jules also enjoyed the night. While he has spoken at the European Parliament, in various fora in Europe and Asia, it was his first time to speak before rotary clubs.

The full presentation plus photos is available here in slideshare.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Club Talk on Liberalism, German Politics and the FNF

This coming Tuesday, May 06, our club and the RC of Makati Pio del Pilar will have a joint meeting with a distinguished speaker, the Country Director of the FNF, and a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jules Maaten.

There is good feedback about this "interesting topic" and hence, we hope many people, rotarians and non-rotarians, will come and listen to Jules.

As usual, no registration fee, people will just pay for their own meals and drinks. Hope to see you there, Manila-based readers. Thanks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Governor Robert Kuan's Visit, Part 2

* This is the continuation of the earlier Governor Robert Kuan's Visit

First Class Governor Robert Kuan of RI District 3830 visited the three clubs of Taguig-Pateros last September 02, 2013, the RC Taguig Fort Bonifacio, RC Taguig West, and RC Metropolitan Pateros. Venue was the RC Makati Foundation building in Makati.

There could be about 70+ people in the room, including District officials. The event was very modest, no special entertainment, just food, fellowships and listening to the inspiring words and exhortations of our hard-working Governor.

Our club was seated at the back of the function room.

One of two dining tables we occupied.

Certificate of Appreciation given by the three Club Presidents to our District Secretary.

And the Presidents' appreciation to the Governor.

Each club has a group photo session with Gov. Robert, including Assistant Gov. Chary Misa. Our turn.

Thanks for the inspiring night, Gov. Robert and President Meann de Leon.