Official visits US trade union’s rehab projects in Leyte | Global News

Official visits US trade union’s rehab projects in Leyte

/ 09:38 AM October 21, 2014
trisikad assn

SEIU Vice President Maria Castaneda with pedicab drivers and their newly donated trisikads. PHOTO BY ISABELLA BORGESON

TANAUAN, Leyte — A top official of a US labor union that has many Filipino in its membership visited a typhoon-damaged Tanauan and Tacloban, Leyte, to check on the progress of the rehabilitation and rebuilding projects sponsored by the union and its partners.

Maria Castaneda, vice president of the Service Employees International Union SEIU, attended the “blessing of the boats” and their turnover to the Bangon Magay Association of Barangay Magay, Tanauan, Leyte.

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Of the 36 fishing boats turned over, 23 were from the SEIU, 11 from the Friends of Akbayan USA and two were from Friends of Fr. Bebs Alcober, SVD.

Castaneda offered a heartfelt message to the community of Magay from her trade union. SEIU is also funding two women’s livelihood associations in the barangay.

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new boats

New boats, 36 in all, were donated by the SEIU, Akbayan USA and Friends of Fr. Bebs Alcover, SVD. PHOTO BY ISABELLA BORGESON

The fisherfolk beneficiaries accepted the boats and the challenge of funders and local community organizer Geline Avila to become stewards of Tanauan’s coastal resources by not engaging in illegal fishing.

Avila also asked them to be active members in their livelihood association, involve the women of their families in decision-making and for the association to assume collective ownership of the boats, which are to be used for fishing and not rented or sold.

castaneda at maribi

Castaneda visiting the reconstructed Maribi Elementary School. PHOTO BY ISABELLA BORGESON

Castaneda also visited the damaged Maribi Elementary School, which is being rebuilt with the support of The Malaya and Tala Fund, a partner of SEIU. The school building was completely destroyed during super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda,and students have been occupying tents as temporary learning facilities.

The “Malaya and Tala School Building” features an ecological sanitation system (eco-san), or an environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional flush-and-dispose toilet. It uses decomposed solid and liquid human waste as a natural organic fertilizer for the community gardens on site. The eco-san and honorarium payment to the architects was funded through the efforts of Friends of Akbayan USA.

The SEIU also donated 20 “trisikad” units donated to two pedicab associations in Tacloban City, Leyte. Super typhoon Yolanda had destroyed the beneficiaries’ vehicles, forcing the trisikad drivers to rent pedicabs for 60 pesos a day to continue their livelihood. They were earning only five pesos per ride, so the rental took a major bite from their daily income.

Now, the associations will be able to place savings into collective funds for health care expenses, bereavement, maintenance of the trisikad and education and skills training for their children, collectively managed by the cooperative.

The associations will also start a mini-repair and vulcanizing shop to be run by the members to supplement their income. The pedicab project was facilitated by Akbayanihan and TINGOG Region VIII, which organized the pedicab drivers.

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TAGS: Akbayanihan, Bangon Magay Association, Friends of Akbayan USA, Friends of Fr. Bebs Alcober SVD, Maria Castaneda, Maribi Elementary School, Service Employees International Union SEIU, Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, The Malaya and Tala Fund, TINGOG Region VIII, typhoon rehabilitation aid
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