After doing relief operations, Dingdong Dantes and his Yes Pinoy Foundation are focused on rehabilitating schools that were greatly damaged by the floods caused by typhoon Ondoy.
"Since Yes Pinoy has been involved in relief operations, gusto rin naming i-announce na magkakaroon ng ibang klaseng proyekto ang Yes Pinoy, which is also related to education [called Oplan Restore Paaralan]," Dingdong said in an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) after his speech during the 10th Integration Celebration cum Inter-Campus Sportsfest 2009 of the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, where he was invited as a guest speaker. The event was held yesterday, October 15.
He announced, "Instead of mga canned goods, mga rice, mga banig, gusto po sana naming i-announce na sana meron po kaming mas kailangan. Ito po ang mga kailangan namin, we can help rehabilitate schools—mga books, mga gamot, libro, notebooks... And siyempre, mga gamit na puwedeng pang-karpintero ng mga nasira, panglinis, especially. The volunteers of Yes Pinoy will personally go to the schools ang clean up the schools ourselves."
The foundation is also looking after the welfare of the youth, which is one of the primary aims of Yes Pinoy Foundation. So, the actor took the opportunity to talk with some of the members of Sangguniang Kabataan in Sta. Cruz, Laguna to discuss the needs of the youth in the area.
Dingdong explained, "Isa rin sa mga programa ng Yes Pinoy Foundation is to find out kung ano rin ba ang concerns ng mga youth. That's why we went here in LSPU, isinama na rin namin na i-meet ang mga Sangguniang Kabataan [officials] para malaman namin kung ano ang concerns nila dito. We can address those concerns na may kinalaman doon sa advocacy namin—education and service—siyempre, we can provide that.
Among the problems mentioned by the local SK representatives are scholarships for out-of-school youth, computers, and recreation activities.
During the meeting, Dingdong mentioned that part of Yes Pinoy's plan is to provide scholarships to deserving students. They will provide job opportunities to these scholars instead of giving them allowance, to teach them how to be responsible with their money.
He added, "Mahirap kasi na basta bibigyan na lang ng pera, hindi naman natin alam kung saan talaga nila gagamitin."
Dingdong said that this is only the beginning of their planned visits to different areas in the country to reach out to the youth. The group is also scheduled to distribute the school supplies they received from National Bookstore and the text books from a publisher-donor.
STRENGTHENING THE YOUTH. During his visit to the Laguna State Polytechnic University, Dingdong was also able to give inspiration to the students to study hard and enjoy the privilege of being able to go to school.
"Naniniwala ako na dapat lang talaga na magpalakas tayo ng katawan at husayan natin ang iba't ibang klase ng galing kasabay ng pagsusunog natin ng kilay. Siyempre, kung malakas at malusog ang ating katawan, walang bagyo o kahit anong sakuna ang kayang magpabagsak sa atin.
"Masuwerte tayong nandito na mayroon tayong paaralan because hindi natin alam na beside this or surrounding this place, mas malalayo, hindi makapasok ang mga students because may tubig pa sa loob [ng eskwelahan] at napinsala rin sila," Dingdong said in his speech.
This was also the message of the short speech of Dingdong's rumored girlfriend Marian Rivera, who is also a member of Yes Pinoy Foundation.
"Napakaswerte niyo dahil lahat kayo nakakapag-aral. Hindi lahat nabibigyan ng chance para mag-aral. At saka, alam n'yo, marami mang pagsubok ang dumating sa atin ngayon, basta huwag tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Naniniwala pa rin ako na tayong mga kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan!" the Darna star said.
At the end of the program, LSPU president Dr. Ricardo Wagan presented a Pledge of Commitment to Yes Pinoy Foundation's Scholarship Program. The state university will give scholarship grants to five chosen beneficiaries of the foundation.
"Umpisa pa lang ito kaya nga magandang may ceremonial na ganitong pagbigay sa amin to also open the doors for other institutions to trust us on this kind of matter. We really want to help," said Dingdong.
The actor also stressed that despite his busy schedule, he still makes time to personally be involved with the projects of his foundation.
"Nakakapagod man, but behind all these, there's a greater reason. Of course, ang main concern natin is kailangan natin ng lakas para makatulong sa kabataan."
"MY INSPIRATION." On a lighter note, Dingdong was also open during his speech that one of his inspirations in putting up Yes Pinoy Foundation is Marian.
The students screamed when Dingdong stated: "Si Marian Rivera ang inspirasyon ko behind putting up this foundation."
Later on, the actor reiterated, "Like what I always said, she has always been the inspiration behind this. Basta kumbaga, siya ang isa sa mga unang matibay na members at volunteers ng Yes Pinoy kaya isa siya sa mga todo-suporta dito."
In a separate interview, Marian tried not to give color to her presence yesterday. She simply told PEP and GMA News, "Unang-una, kaya ako nandito kasi naniniwala ako kay Dong, sa Yes Pinoy Foundation niya. Kaya ako nandito kasi sobrang proud ako sa kanya kasi talagang ginagawa niya ang lahat para makatulong sa ibang tao. Nandito ako para sabihin sa kanya, nandito ako sa likod niya para suportahan siya kasi proud talaga ako sa kanya."