Sen Tobias Enverga Jr, Canadian senator representing Ontario, and Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder helped build ANCOP houses alongside the team of teachers and students of the Toronto District Catholic School Board (TDCSB) who were in the Philippines last December for a 2-week mission trip.
Sen Enverga (left) and Amb Reeder (right) enthusiastically straining sand while people around them scrambled to capture on camera the special moment
Sen Enverga, the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in Ontario, is a long-time supporter of ANCOP. He shared to ANCOP Canada how fulfilling it was to be part of the Toronto Youth build team and to interact with the students. “Being a person who wants to participate, building houses was a great experience, a more personal one,” said Sen Enverga over the phone.
“Young people from Canada doing mission work to ANCOP sites in the Philippines are kids who will grow up to be responsible and great Canadian leaders. It is inspiring to see their passion to help and to allow themselves to work under the sun with great spirit. I hope that they will become model to other students to give back to the community not only in the Philippines.”
Amb Reeder with the mission team members painting the house
Prior to his appointment to the public office in the city of Toronto, Sen Enverga served as a school trustee with the TDCSB in 2010. His path crossed with Michael Consul, TDCSB teacher who at that time was strategically searching for an avenue to train students to learn social justice. He suggested ANCOP to Michael.
The senator was in the Philippines in December, and he learned of the presence of the TDCSB teachers and students who were building houses in ANCOP villages. I was going to join them, and invited Ambassador Reeder to come with me, said the senator.
According to the senator, the Canadian Embassy is familiar with ANCOP but not to the extent of ANCOP’s thrust and advocacy to the poor.
“The mission visit was an opportune time to introduce ANCOP as a charitable organization,” said Sen Enverga.
At the Avanai ANCOP Village, the residents and local ANCOP officials and supporters warmly welcomed the senator and Amb Reeder and wife Irene. Present was Jimmy Ilagan, president of ANCOP Global. Both the ambassador and his wife were pleased to witness the immersion of Toronto youth.
“Overall we were impressed by the work of ANCOP in providing quality homes to the poor. What we both experienced was a very positive one,” he said.
Sen Enverga is not a stranger to ANCOP’s work. His trip to the Philippines was a scheduledfamily trip with his wife, Rosemer Enverga to represent the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF) during the turn over ceremony of the ANCOP houses supported by PCCF.
PCCF is the organization founded both by Sen Enverga and Rosemer whose advocacy is to assist in bringing together Filipino-Canadian community to promote the spirit of Charity. The holistic approach of ANCOP to assist the poor is what attracted Sen Enverga to support ANCOP twelve years ago. He was instrumental in funding 30 ANCOP houses along with friends and supporters of Philippine Independence Day Council (PDIC ) which he headed from 2005-2009.
For over a decade, he sees tangible result of the impact to the Philippine society of the program ANCOP provides from children’s education to values formation. Sen Enverga sees himself growing with the work of ANCOP. As an ANCOP advocate, he wants ANCOP to serve not only in the Philippines but also in the other parts of the world where poverty exists.
When asked if he were to speak to ANCOP donors in Canada about ANCOP he remarked that ANCOP is doing a great job in the alleviation of poverty and reinstating the integrity of the poor, and that it is one of the best ways to help people and a great way to go closer to the Lord.
“Bring the news about the work of ANCOP more to everybody. Inspire other organizations to do the same!”
By Pilar Dimaculangan