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'Sweet Home Alabama' in Davao

*This article was published on Manila Bulletin last September 8, 2015. For the online version, click HERE.

Davao City – The name for the residences being built by Gawad Kalinga (GK) here was thought of after Filipinos living in Alabama in the United States pooled their donations and struck a partnership with Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) to help in the construction of 20 duplex houses that will benefit around 40 impoverished families.

“We will call these 20 duplex houses as Sweet Home Alabama, Gawad Kalinga Village,” GK project director Butch Pacana said.

And the construction of the new village came at no better time as hundreds of volunteers from various groups and companies trooped to Los Amigos Housing Area in Tugbok District here last Saturday as their own way of celebrating the city’s Kadayawan Festival.

As such, the celebration of the Festival, originally dedicated to the lumad and Moro communities for their contribution to the progress and development of this city, took on a deeper meaning.

“One of GK’s aims is to fight poverty. This is such a great challenge but we have to start somewhere,” said Pacana.

GK has been in partnership with the local government of Davao City and other civic groups and companies in building GK villages for eventual distribution to the poor and homeless.

And for this year, Pacana particularly recognized the support of the Filipinos in Alabama, who raised funds for the project, with DLPC providing invaluable support and assistance.

The team of DLPC was led by Art Milan, the company’s executive vice president and chief operations officer, and Rossano Luga, assistant vice president for reputation enhancement, in Saturday’s construction work.

GK’s Kadayawan project in Tugbok started in 2013 where 10 duplex houses were build for 20 families that was followed in 2014 with 15 houses completed which were awarded to 30 families of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

“We can actually help end poverty not just by giving money. There are three ways one can participate in this building of houses for the homeless and the poor – these are talent, time and treasure,” Pacana emphasized.

He explained that these came in the talent one can contribute in helping build the homes; sparking previous time for volunteerism; and treasure by providing the needed funds to complete the project.

“I encourage everyone to participate in any of the three: your time, talent or treasure,” Pacana said.

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