TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- For former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez, there is only one thing that is needed to attain development: Love.
Lopez visited University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao on Friday, April 27, to encourage “loving organizations” here in the region to pitch ideas aimed at developing village economies.
The environmentalist has been travelling throughout the country as part of the “Quest for Love,” a nationwide search for loving organizations “seeking to transform marginalized communities into viable localized economic zones.”
An interested organization is tasked to select a partner local community where they will carry out their program.
The quest will identify 16 organizations, cooperatives, foundations, social enterprises, or non-government organizations, which have the “integrity, heart, capability, and visionary skill” to lead area development programs for their partner village communities.
Lopez’s Investments for Loving Organizations for Village Economies (ILOVE) Foundation and its partners will provide financial assistance and technical support to deserving organizations.
Lopez used their area development in Kinatarcan Island in Cebu and other sites as examples of love ideas.
The top 16 organizations will have access to Masters of Entrepreneurship in Ateneo De Manila. They will also undergo training on area development with top of the line experts.
Further, the “loving organizations” will then propose their ideas to a screening team.
From the finalists, eight will be chosen. Every day for eight months, the top eight finalists’ love programs in the community will be featured on ABS-CBN.
The eight will receive P100,000 cash and direct access to government programs.
Finally, a love vote will decide the “Quest for Love” ultimate winner. The top organization will get P10 million worth of government and private sector assistance to further help in bringing their proposed projects to life.
For Lopez, the key to development is the heart. “What if the foundation of economic growth is love?,” she asked community organizations here.
“It’s not the money that makes the difference… Even if you have a lot of money and a lot of people pero kung walang empathy, walang pagmamahal (love), [at] walang concern sa iba, it’s not gonna work…walang mangyayari sa buhay,” the former DENR chief said.
“What if we all work together and create models of love in the country? Why do we have to die to go to heaven? Why can’t we bring a piece of heaven here? So I feel that if we address the poverty and we all love each other, we will bring a piece of heaven here! That’s the goal,” Lopez added.
Who may apply?
An organization must submit their application form and a three-minute YouTube video about their LOVE program proposal to [email protected].
Aside from this, applicants must be duly registered with government. They must also submit their two-year financial record and have an implementing team.
Organizations must also present their ongoing programs to prove their capability, and they must also be ready to commit to work with the community for three years.
Interested organizations can submit their proposals until Friday, May 18.
” What will be saying to the entire country is, ‘Puwede pala at kayang-kaya natin. That’s what we want to say: a resurgence of hope,” Lopez said. Northernforum.net