March 31, 2014 – MANILA, Philippines – The first 50 motorized fiberglass boats of the Tsinoy Bangkabuhayan project were turned over to the local government of Ajuy, Iloilo last March 22.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club donated 32 of the boats, Rotary Club of Taipei gave nine boats, Rotary Club North West with Rotary Club of Kowloon Golden Mile donated four boats and Sydenham gave three boats.

Each 18-ft boat is equipped with a 7.5hp gas engine, shaft, rudder and propeller. The fishermen will make their own wooden outrigger to complete the boat.

Ajuy Mayor Juan Alvarez thanked Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, an NGO of Chinese-Filipinos, for initiating the Tsinoy Bangkabuhayan project. Tsinoy community organizations and businesses donated funds to build the boats to help fishermen gain back their livelihood. Practically all of them lost their boats to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Earlier, Kaisa also partnered with Hong Kong based NGO Amity Foundation in sourcing nearly P12 million from the Hong Kong SAR for relief goods for Yolanda victims as well as funds for repair of school roofs.

Amity Foundation executive director Anthony Tong attended the turnover event. He personally helped source funds from the Hong Kong Yacht Club for the boats. “Iloilo is familiar to me because of my Filipino domestic helper who gave me updates on what’s happening to her home province Iloilo, where the coastal municipalities were devastated by Yolanda,” Tong said. “There may be problems between our governments because of the hostage crisis but the government and people of Hong Kong know that humanitarian aid to victims is of some urgency,” Tong emphasized.

A social contract for the care of the boats was signed between Kaisa and the fishermen beneficiaries. It was witnessed by Alvarez, provincial administrator Raul Banias, Kaisa and Kaisa’s local partners in its relief distribution, Iloilo Citizens Action Group (ICAG) and Red Cross Iloilo Chapter.

Next turnover of 50 boats from Rotary Club of Mandaluyong is scheduled for mid-April, and another 250 boats are being rushed for turnover in May.

Kaisa has also given carpentry tools to families who lost their homes and assisted in the repair of shelters and school rooms.

(Read more: Philippine Star Article: