Interview with Marlito "Mar" Uy of Miravilla Resort on Botika Sa Katawhan

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By Loy Palapos
Bohol Sunday Post

There is no local government unit the country (be it a province, city or municipality) with a Deputy. Only Tagbilaran City has a Deputy Mayor. And that distinction is held by Mr. Mariano Lim Uy (MLU) of Miravilla and Bohol International Learning Center.

An entrepreneur through-and-through, he is back in Bohol for good, after several years of lucrative handicraft business in California. He built Miravilla Resort in a place a few thought was far from where the action is. With the influx of people who sampled and savored the restaurant's seafoods, Miravilla became an added attraction to the City's booming tourism industry.

It was while he was in USA that his concern for the plight of Boholanos, caused by poverty, started to take form. He started with "Bundles of Joy" he bought to Tagbilaran at least once a year, some contributed by Tagbilaranons in California, but most from his own pocket. Other agencies, like the City Police Department, became recipients of his benevolence.

When he finally decided to settle back in Tagbilaran City, he became a regular donor to some projects, especially those initiated and spearheaded by the City Government. This involvement did not go unnoticed. Mayor Dan Neri Lim appointed him Deputed Mayor with a one-peso token remuneration annually. On July 31, 2006 the City Government opened "Botika sa Katawhan", which gives free medicines to indigents and Senior Citizens of the City. The sourcing of these medicines is handled by Mr. Mariano Uy himself - with help from other generous benefactors in the USA.

Mr. Uy was reluctant to have this interview. It took some time before he was persuaded to answer some questions about his latest contribution to the welfare of the people. Facilitated by Mrs. Lucille Yap Lagunay, who painstakingly prepared the questions, and hounded Mr. Uy to spare some 20 minutes of his time, the interview finally materialized.

LMP: What prompted you to be involved in the Botika sa Katawhan?
MLU: Poverty. Ang kalisud sa mga tawo sa Bohol. Wa koy nakita nga namatay sa gutom, pero daghan kog nadunggan nga namatay sa sakit ug wa nadapati sa saktong tambal. As project implementor of the Tagbilaran Association of Southern California, mas maayo pa nga mohatag ug tambal kay sa Bundle of Joy, but it does not mean we stop the project. The Bundle of Joy will give them happiness for just a few days but ang pagluwas sa kinabuhi will give them a lifetime of joy.

LMP: When you presented this project to the City Mayor, did he readily accept it?
MLU: I discussed this with Mayor Dan for possible support. To fully implement the Botika we needed a place for the Botika and budget for employees' salaries and wages, payment for equipment: aircon, refrigerator, computer, etc. Mayor Dan gave his approval immediately and asked me to talk to Dr. Benjamin Galia who was the City Health Officer at that time. I also presented the idea to VM Montes and the members of the 9th SP who, in support of the project, enacted an ordinance creating the Botika sa Katawhan. I talked to a lot of doctors and convinced them to give free consultations to the beneficiaries of the Botika sa Katawhan. To date, we have approximately 20 accredited doctors. We have doctors in all public and private hospitals in the city.

LMP: Would you like to consider yourself as a good Samaritan, most specifically because this takes much of your time and energy?
MLU: It is true that it eats up a lot of my time. As a retiree, having stayed in the US for more than 25 years, it's about time I dedicate my time to give service to the people of Tagbilaran.

LMP: We understand that this project has some benefactors aside from you. How did you encourage contributions to this project? Did you have a problem along this line?
MLU: This project started when Dr. Eduardo Osea from Masbate gave me all his medicine samples. I turned over the medicine samples to Dr. Sharleen Lim for her free clinics in the barangays. Not everyone you talk to is convinced and willing to give their samples and support the project but this did not deter me from continuing to ask for support. The Tagbilaran Association of Southern California strongly supports this project especially its President, Dr. Anita Cal Jackson who gave all her samples. I'm also getting support locally, like Hans Schoof.

LMP: So far, how much money in particular has been put up for the project?
MLU: We have distributed almost P5M worth of medicines.

LMP: What percentage came from your pocket?
MLU: It is very hard to mention percentage. I give on a monthly basis, as the need arises. I always fill in what is needed to sustain the operation of the Botika sa Katawhan. Sometimes, I spend a lot, sometimes, not much. When we get a lot of donations, my counterpart becomes lesser. Miravilla is a charity restaurant. A big portion of the income of Miravilla is used to support the Botika sa Katawhan. A portion of every peso spent at Miravilla goes to the Botika sa Katawhan. The Botika sa Katawhan is thankful to the customers of Miravilla. Most of the expenses are spent transporting the medicines from other states to California, then to the Philippines. I buy medicines in the US because it is cheaper there. There are no vitamin samples, they have to be purchased. We also have to buy some medicines locally because we cannot get samples from the States.

LMP: How did your family take this new venture considering that it would also affect them?
MLU: I am very happy that I have the full support of my family, knowing that this is a noble project. We are not considering any return because we are not after any political position. We just want to serve our people. Each one of us should do the same. Instead of asking what the government can do for us we should ask ourselves what we can share to help the government serve its people. I am happy that my family is willing to share the income of Miravilla nga ma-enjoy unta nila. I always make use of the people whom I know to obtain help for our people. When I was Consultant and Technical Adviser of Senate President Marcelo Fernan, I was given blanket authority to approve and release funding from his pork barrel. I was able to give about P70M worth of projects in Bohol. Because of my friendship with Mayor Tomas Osmeña, I was able to secure traffic lights for Tagbilaran during the term of Mayor JVT.

LMP: Considering that you are a prosperous businessman, and therefore with limited time for any other undertaking, how much time have you put up for this project, and how did it affect your schedule?
MLU: All my time is already dedicated to the Botika sa Katawhan. Even when I go to the US, the Botika sa Katawhan occupies my time. In my one-week stay, I made orders, purchased vitamins, etc….

LMP: Do you believe that this is a consistent undertaking? If you are going to make a time frame for this project, how long will it last?
MLU: This will go on for as long as I am strong enough and as long as I have the support from the City Government. That is why I will always be thankful to Mayor Dan Neri Lim for his all out support to the Botika sa Katawhan; because if not for him, this project will just be a dream in my heart and I will have difficulties implementing the project.

LMP: From feedback gathered, has there been much acceptance by the public? What are the usual comments that they made about this undertaking?
MLU: We have very good feedback especially from the beneficiaries. Many of the critics of the project are those who have not been given approval to be recipient of the project because of their income bracket P6,000 and below income per household. We started with 2,500 beneficiary households about a year ago and after nine months we increased to 6,500 families. I have plans of expanding it with the series of fund raising activities and the increasing support of the project. I hope and pray that I will be able to increase the beneficiary families to as much as 13,000 to 14,000 households within two years.

LMP: Is there any political motive that came to your mind when you conceptualized this move? Is this solely for public benefit without waiting for anything in return? How about those people, if any, who are convinced that this project has political motives, what can you say to them?
MLU: Many thought I was doing this because of some political interest. They thought I would be running for City Councilor. They can always think that way, but what they are thinking is not what I am thinking. I strongly denied it on paper and radio during my interviews that I am not interested in running for any position because if ever I do that my purpose for truly serving the people will be defeated.

LMP: What kind of fulfillment have you derived from Botika sa Katawhan? We understand it is unquantifiable, but what is its direct effect on you and your well-being?
MLU: Very, very fulfilling. They should be there and observe how happy these people feel when they get their medicines for free. You should see how thankful they are. Some very poor people even donate P1 or P2 so they can be part of this noble project. God knows how happy I am. The happiness I feel is better than counting money and putting it in my pocket. I will continue my crusade and expand the service if God gives me more years to live. I will try that one day all people in Tagbilaran will get their medicines for free. Today, it is just a dream. With your help and the help of those financially capable of helping, this dream will materialize, I always pray that the day will come.

Some years back, BAHRR (Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants) was at its lowest ebb, with a leadership that seemed floundering. As Head of the Management Sector of TIPC (Tripartite Industrial Peace Council) I initiated a reorganization of the group, considering its vital role in the tourism industry. In a meeting at the Flamingo Room of Bohol Tropics Resort, I acted as Presiding Officer, highlighted by the election of officers. Mr. Mariano Uy was elected President of BAHRR. For more than three years he introduced various changes to the group, until it was resuscitated and able to move forward, before he relinquished the reins to another President.

This time he can concentrate to Botika sa Katawhan, a legacy that has won his wisdom and passion.

Romans 10:9
"That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved."



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Re: Interview with Marlito "Mar" Uy of Miravilla Resort on Botika Sa Katawhan
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2007, 03:18:46 PM »
This must be very fulfilling indeed, to be able to help so many people.

If you're going through hell...keep on going...

This is hilarious!!! Mariano Uy never ceased to amaze me with his bloated ego. The truth is Uy did not start the BUNDLE OF JOY.. It was not his brainchild as he claimed but through the effort of the Tagbilaran Association of California (TAC) members this project came into fruition. This came upon as an alternative project of the association after exhausting all venues what else we can donate to the city of Tagbilaran and this project was approved by the body to continue the ongoing project of TAC to give to the city for the benefit of the populace. Initially officers and board of directors donated $20.00 each to start up the funds of the Bundle of Joy. There were several fund raising conducted and silent auction to meet the budget necessary to get the ball rolling. Mario Uy was merely used as an extended arm of the TAC to distribute the packages to the list of deserving family from all the barangays in Tagbilaran. Whatever the amount sent by TAC, the same exact amount was used to purchase the contents of each package to be distributed, no more no less. And it was a blatant lie when he claimed that he started the Bundle of Joy project. He was in Tagbilaran when the project was first approved by TAC body and enacted in Cerritos, California at the residence of Ting Ruiz, the son of late Judge Ruiz.

Another claimed that he was the CONSULTANT and TECHNICAL ASSISTANT of Senator Fernan seemed ludicrous. He just merely appointed himself because of his wife Amparing who was a Fernan. He even asked me which sounds good of the two titles and suggested to him that either one is good. However, he claimed to have the two titles. The fact that he said he was given blanket authority and approved to release funds from Fernan's pork barrel was engenious of him, yet you and I know and everybody else that he probably bullied Amparing to ask Fernan for the funds.

We all know that Uy seems to have an inexchaustible claim for fame and glory. Every time the Bundle of Joy was distributed he was always the frontal view in the pictures published in the Bohol Chronicle. We know that he is fat but the fact is his face is bloated not of excess fat but because of a visayan saying that says "baga ug nawong."