SMILE visited the IPS last October 13, 2012 and we personally saw the real needs of these children, proper nutrition and education and livelihood programs for the community. With regards to their school building, we informed it already to their local government and even to their congressman. And we are also working on it, looking for sponsors for the construction of the building and restroom. As we got back here in Manila, we planned for another project, as we are not that big time NGO’s or foundation, we promised that we would do our very best just to at least make those children happy especially this coming Christmas. And we have seen that the children in Basilan really wanted to study despite of the war that is going on. We at SMILE also aims to make those children realize that war is not the solution to achieve peace, that firearms should not be the things that the kids are holding instead it should be pen,colors and books, that despite of poverty we can still pursue our studies through the help of ourselves and the people around us, that we can achieve our dreams if only we would be inspired and motivated and not to lose hope, that the children are the future of our nation. And SMILE wanted them to feel that we care for them, despite of our differences in language, beliefs and religions.
So, we came up with Toys for KIPS 2012 which was launched this November 2012. Why toys? Toys symbolize joy, happiness and KIPS is for the benefit of the Kids of Ismael Primary School (IPS) in Basilan and Kids of Indigenous People in Sitio Simsimon, San Fernando, Bukidnon. Our target is 200 kids, 100 in Basilan and 100 in Bukidnon which is tied up with the Students of Sociology – Anthropology of Xavier University Cagayan de Oro. Our primary goal is to collect toys either used or new ones, but we also prayed that we also wanted to give those children some food to eat, so that not only their hearts are full but also their stomach. And since God is really Good and Great, He used some people whom we didn’t know and became instruments to answer our prayer. Cash donations came in and our project now renamed to Toys for KIPS with Meal at Christmas (TFK with MAC) 2012. We booked already 50 meals which include spaghetti, fried chicken and peach mango pie from one of our leading food chain in Basilan while we included goodies for kids in Bukidnon. We also have given the kids in IPS toothbrush and toothpaste for their hygiene habit. The target date for the gift giving is December 14, 2012 for Basilan and December 17, 2012 for Bukidnon.
Since there are already enough toys, we decided to submit our request for C-130 in Philippine Air Force Villamor Air Base. On November 26, 2012, we went to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for CMO A-7 and gave our request for our cargoes to be included in the manifest as well as for us five passengers to be accommodated in the flight both going to Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro City. Timely, there is already a tentative schedule on November 29 and 30, 2012 respectively. So with the assistance of Ssg Betchner S Petalver Jr of OA-7 and Sgt Harold Ticman of OA-3 as well as with the help of Maj Francis Neri of A-5, we are again accommodated.
November 27, 2012, we scheduled our re-packing through the help of members of Search and Rescue Unit 15 ID RR and NCRRCDG ARESCOM at Fort Bonifacio. Then we had a call from OA-3 that the final schedule for Zamboanga flight was on the 30th of November and 1st of December for Cagayan de Oro City. Philippine Marine Corps MC2 picked up our boxes from SARU and brought to Base Ops at Villamor. Our flight went on as scheduled except for the Cagayan de Oro shuttle that was moved to December 2, 2012 due to some delay in Mactan.
Our projects are joint with Protectors of Philippine Sovereignty, another Facebook group, with Karla Tricia Banu as its founder. We are still accepting toys and other donations for us to continue what we have started, not for ourselves but for God and country.
Again, through the support of our Armed Forces of the Philippines with its different units, BAYANIHAN made our projects successful. BAYANIHAN para sa KINABUKASAN. BAYANIHAN para sa KAPAYAPAAN. BAYANIHAN kaya natin 'to!
Boxes received by Task Force Zamboanga for Ismael Primary School Basilan
Boxes received by Alexis Yonson, President of Students of Sociology-Anthropology Xavier University Cagayan de Oro CIty