Bench after the storm

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BEN Chan, Rep. Lucy Torres, Richard Gomez

Because she represents in Congress disaster-prone Ormoc City in Leyte, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has witnessed the worst and last year’s horrific Supertyphoon “Yolanda” was no exception. It left thousands of Ormoc’s fishermen and farmers displaced.

Since most of the attention went to ravaged Tacloban City, our gorgeous palangga with a golden heart took it upon herself to start a program for her own congressional district, “6200: Mission Possible,” a campaign to provide each and every one of the 6,200 registered fisherman in her district with his own fiberglass banca through soliciting donations from the private sector and public organizations.

Ben Chan of Bench has had Lucy and hubby Richard Gomez as endorsers for years of the top fashion house, so he pledged an amount enough for 200 boats while helping to provide publicity for the project. The donation was likewise jump-started when Bench employees gallantly offered to forego their 2013 Christmas party and give the savings to the project.

“The boats are designed to last about 20 years, and are easier to repair than the old wooden boats,” said Lucy, whose backyard in Ormoc is now a veritable shipyard where the boats are being manufactured. “It will give our fishermen a new lease in life.”

NEW fiberglass boats donated by Bench to the fishermen affected Supertyphoon “Yolanda”

Well, palangga, last August, the first 100 boats from Bench were handed over to the first batch of fisherfolk. Ben Chan arrived on a sunny morning at the Ormoc pier to personally witness the donation.

Ormoc officials and the grateful fishing families welcomed him.

“Filipinos are not victims. Filipinos are survivors,” Ben told the fisherfolk. “We have committed to this project, and we will help Lucy to the end.”

According to Lucy, the project has already finished more than 2,000 boats, priced at about P36,000 each, thanks to private donations.

Let’s all do our part in helping in such an important humanitarian cause, palangga.


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