Lionheart Farms and the municipal government of Rizal are partnering on a project called “Kapit Bisig”, to reach out to residents amid the fight against the pandemic coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
Since the earliest days of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Lionheart and the Rizal leadership have been helping over 8,000 residents, providing them food assistance and other means of needed support.
Kapit Bisig, said Lionheart Farms president Christian Eyde Moeller, has reached almost every corner of the municipality from north to south, in coordination with the local office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), barangay chairmen and councilors, purok leaders, indigenous peoples (IP) chieftains, government troops, and the COVID-19 task force.
At the invitation of Mayor Otol Odi, Moeller said their company has also become an observer at meetings of the anti-virus task force of the town, which was helpful to make Kapit Bisig a joint effort led by a private entity as a community partner.
“As the COVID-19 situation evolved, I realized immediately the responsibility of Lionheart and I couldn’t be more proud of the way all the community stakeholders have supported the effort. Above all, the sacrifice of our people for the benefit of the less fortunate has been remarkable,” Moeller said.
The rice distribution has been joined by Odi and vice mayor Norman Ong, showing local government and private entity partnerships can be strong in fighting COVID-19.
Lionheart has been providing employment in 8 out of 11 barangays of Rizal, and most recently in 3 barangays in Bataraza.
The four-year-long partnership with the community of IPs of Ransang, Candawaga, and Culasian is strong and has in the calamity of COVID-19 shown the long term benefit of the stability that the partnership model brings to the tribal community.
The stability from continuous employment allowed the IP leaders and all the workers of Lionheart to forego receiving rice, with everyone joining in the distribution to reach the less fortunate in the community.
Moeller describes it as “an incredible act of true community spirit and responsibility from people who only a few years were among the most vulnerable themselves”.
For 5 weeks, his wife Cecille, has worked with the Lionheart team to bring needed support to the people.
“For five weeks straight Cecille has worked tirelessly with the Lionheart team to reach more than eight thousand families. Cecille has been joined by community leaders from all over Rizal with Mayor Otol Odi and Vice Mayor Norman Ong also in the front line distribution,” he said.
Cecille Chang-Moeller said they are proud to be part of Rizal, the home of their family and company.
“We are proud to be residents of Rizal, the home of our family and company. We have witnessed the enormous effort of our local government leaders, seeing the Task Force in action since the very first days responding to the needs of the community in this incredibly difficult situation. Our effort is small in comparison, but we hope it has made a difference,” she said.