Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Beginnings of OI Philippines (2004)

In the spring of 2004 OI America president Rick Respicio, OI America Philippines Exploratory Committee chair Jeanette Ledda and myself met with Cecilia Rebong, the Consul General, and her staff at the Philippine Consulate in New York. They were enormously receptive, encouraging, and helpful. Rick, originally from the Philippines, contributed land there to build OI Philippines.

Typical farms and fields in area where OI Philippines is being established on donated land

In January 2006 Advocacy Journalist Marc Guerrero, our interim board president with OI Philippines in Manila, announced that OI Philippines had begun planning the construction of a campus in Ilocos Norte on the donated land. Marc Guerrero also chairs the Asian/Pacific Subcommittee of the 2006 Committee of OI America in New York.

The 2006 board of OI Philippines includes Hernando B. Delizo, Juan Antonio Perez III, Ariadne Celina S. Cristobal, Teodoro T. Antonio, and Rolando G. Estabillo. Hernando Delizo, MD, FPCP, M.B.A., has four children, two of whom were adopted. A practicing physician and professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Ateneo de Manila University, Hernando was the first Filipino private health retailer who set up a multispecialty clinic in a shopping mall which has now become a national chain. Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH, is a community health specialist. Before working for Philippine Tuberculosis Initiatives for the Private Sector, a USAID-supported program, Juan was formerly a director of FriendlyCare Foundation, another USAID-funded program.

Career mother Ariadne Celina Cristobal is also a sociologist, multimedia performance artist, editor and writer. Teodoro Antonio, Thailand royalty’s Southeast Asia Write poet laureate is a multimedia artist, author, and writing fellow of the Philippines’ major universities. Rolando Estabillo is Vice President for Communication of Philippine Airlines, as well as a radio broadcaster and newspaperman.

OI Philippines Vice President
Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez

OIP’s process of incorporation as a not-for-profit organization with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission began in 2005. Thereafter, OI Philippines registered with the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue to acquire the equivalent of America’s IRS 501(c)(3) status, and registered as well as with the Philippine Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and other appropriate government endorsing bodies.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Gatmaitan Romulo has lauded OIWW’s initiatives in promoting the interest of orphans in Asia and worldwide. Foreign Affairs Secretary Romulo said he was pleased to know about recent developments relating to OI in the Philippines.

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