Mowelfund Welcomes Back Former Pres. Joseph 'Erap' Estrada

Manila Bulletin, March 30, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Mowelfund Welcomes Back Former Pres. Joseph 'Erap' Estrada

Byline: Crispina Martinez-Belen

In its 34th founding anniversary celebration today, the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund) welcomes back its founder and chairman emeritus, former Pres. Joseph "Erap" Estrada.

On hand to roll the red carpet for him are members of the Mowelfund board, the staff and some 2000 members.

Mowelfund, located at 66 Rosario Drive, Quezon City, is a private, nonstock and non-profit foundation that provides welfare, medical, livelihood, housing and film development and education benefits (the later through the Mowelfund Film Institute) to the marginalized sector of the film industry. Ms. Boots Anson-Roa is the foundation's executive director.

President Erap's last visit to Mowelfund was almost 10 years ago, soon after his presidential inauguration.

It is recalled that the rigors of the presidency and eventually his house arrest until late 2007 prevented him from physically helping attend to the needs of some 4,500 Mowelfund beneficiaries. Nevertheless, during those years, he very quietly and self-effacingly continued to support the Foundation and its multifarious concerns with his personal resources, Ms. Anson-Roa said.

The Metro Manila Development Authority's annual Metro Manila Film Festival, through Chairman Bayani Fernando, has been a constant source of Mowelfund assistance, despite a decline in the Foundation's allocation since 2002 due to an increase in the number of beneficiaries. Beginning last year, the Presidential Social Fund, through the Presidential Management Staff, has helped alleviate the Foundation's financial problems.

The 34th anniversary celebration today will start with a holy mass to be officiated by Fr. Larry Faraon, O.P., to be followed by a brief program where the Mowelfund Board, composed of Atty. Espiridion Laxa, National Artist Eddie Romero, producer Marichu Maceda, composer Josefino Cenizal, director Boy Vinarao and Executive Director Boots Anson-Roa, addresses the members and reports on the Foundation's status and plans for 2008.

During the whole-day event, there will be free medical, dental and diagnostic laboratory tests and treatment for members. Free lunch will also be served, after which there will be activities for the members' young dependents, like educational games with interesting giveaways, arts and crafts, and a session with Ronald McDonald plus McDonald's happy meals, thanks to Andrew Tan.

There will also be performances from guest artists which will be interpersed with the much-awaited bingo games and raffle draws which promise members attractive prizes in cash and in kind from artists, industry leaders and benefactors like FPJ Films, Star Cinema, GMA 7, ABS-CBN, German Moreno, PLDT, Manila Broadcasting Co., PCSO and pharmaceutical companies.

Highlight of this year's anniversary celebration is a special tribute to Chairman Erap. An audiovisual presentation precedes the awarding of the citation to the honoree by the Mowelfund Board, to be followed by the founder's a much-awaited address to the congregation. He in turn honors the pioneers who crafted the Foundation's charter and helped implement his vision for the industry's less fortunate workers.

Expected to grace the event are friends and supporters of Chairman Erap and Mowelfund from the government, social, civic, business and even opposite spectra in politics. "It will be a veritable reunion for Erap and the very kindred souls he reached out to uplift through Mowelfund's programs," Ms. Anson-Roa said.

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