Former Senator Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada relinquished her decades-long chairmanship of the board of MARE Foundation to her daughter, Jackie Ejercito, in turnover rites held at San Andres Stadium, Manila on September 7.
On hand to witness the passing of the torch between the special women in his life was Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Ejecito Estrada, whose outreach programs as an elected official has always enjoyed the assistance of this non-stock, non-profit organization.
Also present at the event were MARE Foundation volunteers and donors, as well as hundreds of families and senior citizens from selected Manila districts who were given food supplies, wheelchairs, and canes, among others to help with their daily lives.
Besides Jackie’s installation as chairman, the new set of officers of MARE Foundation were also inducted during the mid-morning event comprised of former senator Jinggoy Ejercito’s wife Precy as vice chair, Corina Ponce Enrile Yenko as treasurer and Ma. Cristina Tantoco Moras as corporate secretary. Fr. Edward Lavin,
Maria Rowena Ejercito, Gabriel Ma. Lopez, Precy Mathay, Willin Chan, Evelyn Carballo and Benita Tanyag complete the board of directors.
MARE Foundation was established by then Vice President Joseph Estrada together with his wife in 1996 with the vision to help improve the quality of life of underprivileged Filipinos.
After more than 20 years of implementing pro-poor programs, the foundation has likewise helped thousands of men and women, seniors and youths via free medical, surgical and dental missions, medical assistance and feeding programs, livelihood projects, scholarships, and relief assistance to victims of flood, fire and other calamities.
Since Estrada was elected mayor of Manila, Loi, together with the officers and members of MARE have been able to hold close to a hundred medical and dental missions benefiting some 250,000 indigent individuals.
A team of volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and health practitioners attend to the health concerns in the city’s most depressed areas through the efforts of the foundation, at the same time teaching the populace proper hygiene and nutrition practices on a daily basis.
The Dialysis Center Project of the foundation, in partnership with the City Government of Manila, provides free dialysis sessions to Manileños who cannot afford this expensive but life-saving kidney treatment. When Loi was still First Lady, she spearheaded this project by building a free dialysis center in Malacañang.
On Wednesday’s turnover Jackie, the only daughter of Mayor Estrada and his wife, thanked her parents for inspiring since childhood to have the heart and a helping had for the less fortunate.
“I am very grateful whenever I see a child smile or when I cheer up the neglected elderly or those forgotten by their families. When my mother, Senator Loi, said she would pass on the chairmanship of the MARE Foundation to me, I must admit that I hesitated, believing I will never be able to do half of what my mom has done. But then I remembered what my father always said, “‘To live and to die, Erap can never repay what he owes the Filipino masses’,” said the devoted daughter who incidentally celebrated her 50th birthday that day.
She felt compelled to accept the chairmanship to ensure that her parents’ service for the poor will persevere.
“This will certainly provide endless opportunities for me to bring more smiles to the faces of children and the elderly; to help mothers become more productive as they take care of their families; and to guide the youth in the formation of proper values in life,” she ended.