Today, the Rotary Club East of Cagayan de Oro marks its 51st year of existence with the induction of new set of officers headed by its newly elected President, my sister in-law, Ms. Jeanne S. Ong. The election of the Club’s President came not as a surprise. Being the younger sister of my lovely wife, Helen, Jeanne has gone a long way in helping not only her relatives but the community as well, even generating job opportunities to those in need through her outstanding entrepreneurship and business acumen. What is even more amazing is that the Jeanne’s induction has coincided with the Club’s celebration of Rotary International with the theme, Imagine Rotary.
Devoid of the klieg lights to showcase the magnificent accomplishments of the Rotarians whom I am aware of as no less than my amazing niece, Atty. Elya Kristine Ravanera Bago is an outstanding Rotarian herself who have done so much for the environment and in serving the least of our brethren, may I underscore the relevance of the Rotary Club East of Cagayan de Oro and the Rotary Club International.
We are living in most turbulent times as the onset of a new age saw not only our country but the whole world beset with set of problems deeply rooted in poverty, gross inequities & social injustices not to mention the glaring threat of climate change that has put the earth in the state of planetary emergency described by thousands of concerned scientists and environmentalists as “one minute before midnight.” As concluded in the Study, “we are now in the 22nd year of the 21st century but we do not know whether we will reach the 22nd century which is just 78 years from now.” No less than Pope Francis in Lau Da Tu Si has encouraged humanity to hear the cry of the poor and of the earth. The Rotarians have been hearing the cry of the poor and of the earth. It is the Club that are drawing those in the margins into the mainstream of development process. Its scholarship program for the poor but bright students has become a springboard to provide a bright future not only to the scholars’ families but to their respective communities as well.
The Club is so amazing in its environmental protection and ecological sustainability projects. The Rotarians understand very well that climate change is not a far-off threat. It’s impacting communities all over the world at this very moment, and we ignore the scientific reality at our own peril. But not the Rotarians!
No less than the United Nations has issued in 2015 the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the countervailing measures to protect life on earth and to advance gender equity through women empowerment which ROTARY INTERNATIONAL is now focusing on. It has been said that if mankind has to achieve a sustainable kind of development, it is imperative to mobilize the
other half of humanity composed of girls and women. When the young girls develop their full human potentials and become professionals, they become assets to society, In more ways than one,
The Rotary Club East of Cagayan de Oro has many narratives to share on how the Club is doing that such as providing scholarships to young girls. Indeed, you want to know the future? When poor girls are empowered and capacitated as professionals to serve their communities, the future will be bright as such is a liberation path against hunger and poverty. Imagine that future based on our vision of making life better for the poor and the oppressed. When you imagine, hear the cry of the poor and of the earth.
There is a saying that goes, “there is no greater grandeur sight in the world than that of a Club fired with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim of making life better for the people.” That Club is bound to win, the whole world stands to one side and let it pass. It always makes a way for the Club to win, not for fame, power or glory but to serve the least of our brethren.
Yes, we now IMAGINE ROTARY scaling the heights of being a transformative leader for people, planet, prosperity and peace. IMAGINE ROTARY like a brilliant light looming amidst the darkness of poverty and ecological disasters because we have heard the cry of the poor and of the earth. Thus, in a world where the profit motive has already captured the mindset of all governments, all universities, all institutions and even of religious groups, IMAGINE ROTARY going to that transcendental dimension where empowering the poor especially the powerless girls and women be a liberation path to advance the genuine essence of spirituality. IMAGINE ROTARY debunking the mundane and going to the sublime.
Thus, with Ms. Jeanne S. Ong at the helm of the Rotary Club East of Cagayan de Oro, the Club can scale the heights in responding to the cry of the poor and of the earth.