Jollibee GK-Village holds turnover rites
By Bong Pedalino
Brgy. Mahayahay, Bontoc, Southern Leyte (4 February) -- A turn-over ceremony for 100 houses was formally held here last week, January 30, for the poorest of the poor beneficiaries, the low-cost housing project undertaken by Gawad Kalinga (GK) and duly funded by Jollibee Foods Corporation.
A symbolic key was personally handed over to the homeowners by personalities of the giant food firm headed by Ms. Gisela Tiongzon-Velasco, the Executive Director of Jollibee Foundation, along with some Franchisee, like Willard Chan, the Franchise owner of Jollibee Baybay and Ormoc.
Also around was Bontoc Mayor Pedro Fustanes, who was the owner of the two-hectare lot which was donated for the construction of the houses, including another two-hectare open space he intended to let the village use for the livelihood needs of the new community.
Others present were Engr. Dominador Clavejo, provincial director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), for the proposed flour mill to be put-up in the place, together with Fe Norma Valuis, provincial director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with her companion, Mario Tictic.
CFC-GK provincial head Dr. Jerome Paler led the community of CFC members who witnessed the activity.
Rev. Msgr. Cesar Garces, Parish Priest of Bontoc, earlier said mass and blessed the houses.
In an interview with Ms. Velasco, Jollibee Foundation Executive Director, shortly before the ceremonies began, she disclosed that the amount of P6 Million was used for building the houses, at P 60,000.00 per unit cost of materials.
But she stressed that customers of Jollibee contributed immensely to that money through their coin campaign in all the branches that raked in over a million pesos.
All the employees and personnel of Jollibee, aside from chipping-in cash, also shared their time and efforts during GK-Jollibee Build schedules, when the houses were still in various stages of construction last year, Velasco added.
With the houses now complete, the next thing for the benefactor to look into will be the sustainability of the community by helping them in their farm livelihood until such time the homeowners will be on their own, said Velasco.
"We also raised money through the coin bank in our stores and we were able to raise more than a million pesos from that alone, so this is also a tribute to all our customers plus our employees' help in building the houses," Velasco informed.
She added: "From here on, our pledge to our partners is that we will be with them at the start. We will help you start up and do something but beyond that is no longer our control. It's all in their hands. Our intervention will be on livelihood program because that will spell out the sustainability of the community."
It was learned that so far Jollibee has tied up with GK for two communities, one in Las Pinas in Luzon, and this one for the Visayas.
And the selection of the date for the turn-over was deliberate: January 30 was also the 30th anniversary of the successful food business Jollibee. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]