Hernani, Eastern Samar – November 11 is the birth date of Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP). She is also popular by the name of Sec. Ging. She could have spent quality time with her family, friends and colleagues on this special day but she chose to get out of party fun and ended up in a simple yet meaningful occasion in a small town in the poverty, calamity-stricken province of Eastern Samar instead.
The event was in Hernani, one of the smallest municipalities of the province. Hernani posted the highest number of human loss in the province with 87 casualties after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiayan) hit the central Philippines on November 8, 2013. Obviously, the town also was one of the highly devastated areas leaving most of the survivors with nothing but lives and horrific memories of the catastrophe.
Since day 1 after the Yolanda blitzkrieg, the people of Hernani and the neighboring towns of Llorente and Gen. MacArthur, together with the rest of the affected areas, started to regain their hopes and rebuild everything that was destroyed.
Agencia Española Cooperacion International para el Desarollo (AECID), a Spanish humanitarian organization, was one of the victims’ responders. A long-time partner of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), AECID downloaded funds to the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Hernani, Gen. McArthur and Llorente purposely for the assembly of motorized boats (bancas) and purchase of fishing paraphernalia to fisher folks who lost their livelihood in the aftermath.
Three days and 2 years passed, AECID and OPAPP are formally turning over the ownership of these boats, 63 in total, to the beneficiaries identified by the three LGUs. No less than the Spanish Ambassador, Luis Calvo and Secretary Ging were present to hand these boats to the fishermen.
“I hope these will be a good start,” Sec. Ging said referring to the sturdy boats displayed in the newly reconstructed gym in Hernani town.
After a surprise birthday song rendered by Hernani Mayor Edgar Boco, local officials and the public in attendance, the activity was filled all the more with emotions.
Holding back her tears, Sec. Ging said: “This is the best birthday I ever had in 67 years.” She relayed that her family and friends were telling her to stay and take a break from work as today is her birthday but she decided to leave and spend time with people in need.
A staunch peace advocate, she said that her wish is that her hopes for real peace and progress will be attained. “Sa amin pagdating ngayon, ang ating paniniwala at ang ating intensyon ay patuloy na pagtutulungan sa pagtahak ng landas tungo sa kapayapaan at kaulanran na tunay na mararamdaman at pangmatagalan.”
Secretary Deles has been serving as peace adviser to President Benigno Aquino III since July 1, 2010. She also held OPAPP’s helm from 2003-2005. Her previous achievements include sitting as Secretary General of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and serving as co-founder of International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance.
The boat turn-over rites was also attended by Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo (OPAPP), Assistant Secretary Jennifer Oreta (OPAPP), General Coordinator Juan Pita (AECID) and Project Manager Cristina Brito (AECID). Heads of offices of the Provincial government also attended the activity.