The Keppel-GK Eco Village in Bauan
“This is the Asian age. And us, Asians – we have to be one. We should be family, we should be friends, we should be partners in building this part of the world.” Tony Meloto spoke warmly to the audience gathered in the Keppel-GK eco Village of Bauan, Batangas last May 14, 2012. 60 families were given certificates of occupancy for their new homes in a handover ceremony that was attended by the Ambassador of Singapore to the Philippines V P Hirubalan, Chairman and Director of Keppel Philippines Marine Inc. Nelson Yeo, and even Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. Various representatives from the Singapore-based Keppel group as well as from the local government were also there to see the fruits of a partnership that is instrumental in the goal to end poverty in the Philippines.
The handover ceremony
“The Keppel group donated a total of P10.5 million to the development of the Keppel-GK Eco Village. A proportion of this sum was raised from Keppel's business units and employees in Singapore through a fundraising activity organized by Keppel Volunteers and Keppel Young Leaders, a unit that promotes volunteerism and nurture young talents.” (Source: www.pia.gov.ph) KPMI Chairman Nelson Yeo mentioned he was very impressed with GK’s vision of providing sustainable living for the people, apart from housing. He says he was “very impressed with the passion that Tony and his team has (in running) the GK programs, both in the Philippines, as well as the support development in Singapore and outside the Philippines.”
>>> Learn more about Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto
Representatives from the Keppel group and the Singaporean Embassy;
The speech of KPMI Chairman Nelson Yeo
60 families were all there with smiles on their faces as they finally reaped the results of their hard work. They were actively involved in the construction of this eco village, with 1,000 man-hours worth of sweat equity per family. Exceptional Kapitbahayans and KB leaders were also given certificates of appreciation that day, and you could see the tears of joy flowing freely in their faces. Some were given awards for their selfless service to the community, some for being a listening ear to their fellow Kapitbahayans, and some for simply greeting each morning with an infectious enthusiasm that spreads to the entire community. Because this is not just about building houses. This is about building a productive and sustainable Keppel-GK community composed of caring and sharing individuals who treat each other like family.
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Symbolic tree-planting among the partners who made the Keppel-GK Eco Village possible (L-R: KPMI VP of Admin & Finance Agnes Barbara L. Lorenzo, KPMI Chairman Nelson Yeo, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto, Bauan Councilor Bodjie Casapao and Singaporean Ambassador V P Hirubalan)
This partnership between Keppel and Gawad Kalinga, as well as the support of the local government and the hard work of the caretaker teams and volunteers, is key to why communities like this succeed. Batangas Governor Vilma Santos underscored the importance of partnership and teamwork when she said “Marami pa po kaming idle land all over the province (There’s so much idle land all over the province), I’ll be very very willing to work with you…I’m looking forward to meeting with you again and enhancing our project here in Bauan…At the same time, we can work together to help the constituents of Batangas. Wholeheartedly, being the governor of the province, thank you very much for this partnership. The magic word is teamwork. Let us all work as a team, let us all work as partners, let us all work as a family – in building our province and our nation together, because I cannot do this alone.”
The partnership among Keppel, Gawad Kalinga, and the local government;
Batangas Governor Vilma Santos addresses the audience
Indeed, the government cannot do it alone, and Gawad Kalinga can’t do it alone as well. This is about working together with partners like Keppel who are not afraid to care for the poorest of the poor. Tony Meloto thanked the Keppel group and reminded everyone that “if we give the best to the least, then we bring out the best in the least, and we can rise as a nation.”
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