UP Visayas (UPV) put a smile on the faces of calamity-affected families from the coastal barangays of the Municipality of Miagao during the launching of “PasKOOPerasyon,” a collaborative Christmas gift-giving program, held last December 17, 2022 at the new administration building ground, UPV Miagao campus.
PasKOOPerasyon, envisioned to become a year-end annual activity, is a collaborative undertaking of the UPV Employees Cooperative (UPVEC) in partnership with the UPV Ugnayan ng Pahinungod/Oblation Corps (UPV UP/OC), and College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS) Public Service Program (CPSP). The gift-giving program was also in cooperation with the CFOS student organizations, namely the UP Fisheries Guild, UP Ichthyophilic Society, CFOS Student Council, and UPV Graduate Students in Fisheries Association (UPV GRASFA).
The project aims to render assistance and services to coastal communities as well as to other stakeholders of the University.
Chancellor Clement C. Camposano graced the launching activity and addressed the beneficiaries. In his message, Camposano underscored the importance of cooperation and compassion to achieve a common goal, especially in times of disasters. The Chancellor also emphasized that UPV will be there for the people of Miagao.
Meanwhile, Prof. Emiliza C. Lozada, chair of the Board of Directors of UPVEC, said that PasKOOPerasyon is the cooperative’s commitment to the welfare of the community under the spirit of pahinungod, a Cebuano term for oblation or the giving of oneself for the service of the nation.
The 148 less privileged households affected by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng last October 2022 were the initial beneficiaries of the program. They were identified with the assistance of the Municipal Agriculture’s Office (MAO) and the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (MSWDO) of Miagao.
Camposano led the giving of Christmas presents to the affected families with the assistance of CFOS dean and a member of the UPVEC Board of Directors Prof. Encarnacion Emilia S. Yap.
Each recipient brought home a grocery bag consisting of rice, canned goods, biscuits, noodles, cooking oil, coffee, sugar, and spaghetti pack. The lucky ones also received various items during the raffle draws like additional grocery bags, household items, appliances, and fishing rods. They, too, enjoyed meals and participated in various games together with the UPV constituents.
Among the beneficiaries, 17 identified as most severely affected fisherfolk households also received fishing gears like hooks and nettings, as well as boat repair materials such as plywood, paint, and marine epoxy to help them recover from the aftermath of Paeng. The materials were purchased from the proceeds of the donation drive conducted by the CPSP.
Boxes of donated clothes collected by UPV UP/OC, UPFG, and CFOS-SC were also given to them based on their family profile. The same fisherfolk will be invited to attend a training on aquaponics to be conducted by the Institute of Aquaculture, CFOS in the future.
The beneficiaries were pleased with what they received. They said in a local dialect that UPV made their Christmas a truly happy one.
The CPSP, headed by Prof. Jerry Ian Leonida, was the lead organizer of the event.
(This article was first published in the UP Visayas Facebook Page on January 4, 2023)