Aiming for a partnership with local government units, volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines visited the town of San Mateo, Rizal on September 5 to formally present the foundation’s missions.
The visit was a jumpstart to forging an official agreement with the 15 barangay leaders in the town.
Tzu Chi volunteers, led by the organization’s chief executive officer Alfredo Li, introduced to the officials of the barangay the Tzu Chi Foundation, its founder Master Cheng Yen and the foundation’s missions that include education, environmental protection, humanity, charity and medicine.
They also promoted recycling of waste materials as a Tzu Chi’s way of protecting the environment.
Li said through garbage recycling, they were able to provide environmental awareness to at least 10 public schools in San Mateo since last year. The project was also discussed already with officials of Barangays Guinayang and Banaba Extension in the town, he said.
According to him, they elaborated to the village chiefs Tzu Ch Foundation’s two approaches of recycling such as reprocessing non-biodegradable items into new products and renewing the hearts and minds of people through vegetarianism.
During the September 5 meeting, the barangay officials were noticeably wowed by the products presented to them that included thermal blankets and shirts made of plastic bottles. After which, they were also given with one volume of Master Cheng Yen’s Still Thoughts Aphorisms to better inspire them to lead an upright life.
Joel Diaz, president of the Association of Barangay Captains in San Mateo, expressed his admiration to the Tzu Chi Foundation saying, “This kind of effort needs to be supported for it will benefit a lot of us. We will be helping them through our little ways of donating recyclables. Tzu Chi can expect our support!”
Early that day, Tzu Chi volunteers joined the officials and staff of the San Mateo Municipal Hall in the flag-raising ceremony where residents learned how the organization helps the poor.
“We will help not only to pay back to whatever assistance we will be receiving from them but because we are inspired to make a move for our environment,” Diaz said in response to Tzu Chi’s initial offer for medical assistance to the town residents.
Meanwhile, the barangay leaders said they will draft soon a resolution of “support and same-mindedness towards environmental protection.”
For Tzu Chi volunteers, the barangay officials’ support will strengthen community involvement leading to a more realistic approach of changing the world.