BAUANG, La Union: Bishop Rodolfo Beltran of San Fernando City, La Union has commended the Wong Chu King Foundation (WCKF), the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of Filipino cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. (MC), for helping the church to spread the faith in the Philippines and for prioritizing apostolic works and education in its programs and projects.
According to Beltran, the foundation has so far donated to church projects funding the education of poor but deserving students in Lagawe, Bontoc. This includes four seminarians and students of vocational courses like sewing, weaving and hairstyling.
“The parents of these students are low-income farmers producing only for local consumption,” the bishop said. “So you can imagine the positive impact this kind of support has for them.”
Beltran also commended MC and WCKF for the outreach project recently launched for 65,000 organized tobacco farmers of Northern Luzon.
The bishop has witnessed the signing of an agreement on the project between MC and 200 farmer leaders of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers and Cooperatives Inc. (NAFTAC) from Pangasinan, La Union, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur at a hotel here recently.
Under the agreement, MC donated to the farmers 16 hand tractors worth P2.5 million and 90 irrigation pumps worth P1.1 million.
“I’m quite happy about all these projects. It’s a big lift for our farmers, not only in La Union but also the whole of Northern Luzon,” Beltran said. “This is something very beautiful as the hand tractors and water pumps encourage our farmers to use modern methods of agriculture.”
The foundation was also commended for the renovation of the Basilica Minore of the Our Lady of Piat Church in Piat, Cagayan in 2012, and the renovation of the Diocesan Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Naic, Cavite last year.
Auxiliary Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao City described WCKF’s work as “a step in the right direction. My diocese, like all dioceses, have serious concerns. If WCKF is out to help schools, putting up libraries is the best form of help it can give.”
“For many years, I have personally known Mrs. Nelia Wong Chu King, WCKF chairman of the board of trustees,” said Archbishop Emeritus Diosdado Talamayan of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao City. “She and her family are great devotees of Our Lady of Piat, and they have erected a chapel in Malolos City, Bulacan, dedicated to Our Lady of Piat, which was blessed by many bishops led by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales in 2012.”
Archbishop Rolando Tirona of the Archdiocese of Caceres in Naga City, Camarines Sur, described the Wong Chu Kings as an upright family and said it was “highly uncharacteristic for them to be involved in the illicit trade practices of technical smuggling and tax evasion.”
Created in 1990, the foundation aims to perpetuate the memory of Wong Chu King, the family patriarch, an avowed philanthropist who was concerned for the plight of, and provided timely assistance to, the poor and underprivileged during his lifetime. The foundation also aims to encourage and promote education through scholarship programs and raise funds for charitable, cultural and educational purposes.