For the longest time that Rotary has been thriving, we have seen impressive leaders and humanitarians come and go. To lose a fellow Rotarian, especially ones that have been kind and truly embodied the values of Rotary, is like losing a comrade.
Our hearts ache for the passing of our dear Past District Governor Charoy Marquez. He has been a good leader, a reliable friend and partner, and an inspiring mentor to all of us. Our prayers go to his bereaved families and relatives. May they find strength in these times of grief and remember that the ones we love are never gone, rather they live within our hearts. I ask for your prayers and a moment of silence to pray for the soul of our dear fellow Rotarian and Governor. Let us also pray for the peace of Life-Changing President Jo Santiago of the Rotary Club of Chinatown Manila and our other fellow Rotarians who have joined the Almighty and who we will dearly miss.
A year and a half since the pandemic began and we still find ourselves in the same uncertain situation that we were once in — thousands of Filipinos still jobless, both small and big companies still closing left and right and laying off employees, leaving families hungry and making everyday a struggle for them to provide for their day to day subsistence. As much as we had hoped for things to be better, many families are still unable to get back on their feet and regain their livelihoods.
One of our areas of focus in Rotary is Community and Economic Development. The role we play in this area couldn’t have been more timely since more people need help in developing sustainable sources of income and there is a strong call to work together to jump start our economy.
This month, as we celebrate Community and Economic Development, we should direct our energy and resources to revitalizing communities, developing and rehabilitating affordable housing, promoting sustainability, encouraging entrepreneurship, and creating jobs. I encourage you to create more technical and vocational training, support for social enterprises, and help communities to generate their own solutions to their community’s economic problems and thereby build long term community capacity and foster the integration of economic, social and environmental objectives.
There are plenty of avenues for us to advocate for community and economic development. I, myself, believe that this is one effective way to sustainably help communities and change lives. This Life-Changing Year, I expect you to strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women in less fortunate communities.
Before anything else, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of a few reminders: Firstly, kindly pay your Rotary dues — district dues, SAR, Philippine Rotary Magazine, and Calamity Fund. By paying your dues, you are further fueling our organization. Secondly, nominate a club-level District Transformation Officer who will undergo training to help your club and our district advance digitally, especially now that our situation is calling for us to be tech-savvy: and lastly, check that all your numbers and emails are reported in the portal for this will be used for the digitization of the Philippine Rotary Magazine.
As you keep up the great work that you have been doing so far, remember to stay safe and take extra precautions and follow health protocols for the pandemic is not yet over. We should take our situation seriously and direct our energy into protecting ourselves and loved ones. Remain inspired and hopeful as well, and make sure to magnetize this to the communities you will reach out to.
Let us all work hand in hand. Let us serve to change lives.
Robert G. Koa