NEW VENTURE. Members of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc (Mowelfund) speak to the media during a press conference for the launch of their activities. Photo by Alexa Villano/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – What's an organization that works to help workers in the entertainment industry doing in real property development? For members of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc (Mowelfund), the answer is obvious – to raise more funds for the people who work behind-the-scenes. 

In a press conference last March 14, Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo, president of the organization said its foray into real estate will  give the organization the necessary funds to sustain projects for its members. The project is in partnership with Victor Consunji Inc, who will also build a new Mowelfund building.

NEW BUILDING. A proposed look of the new Mowelfund buildind, which will be built very soon. Photo courtesy of Mowelfund

Roa-Rodrigo said that it took 7 years before the decided to pursue the venture, especially since they also had to sit down with one of its founders – former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada.

"Ito po'y hindi pinag-isipan, hindi pinag desisyunan overnight. Nag umpisa po ang pag-aaral po nito with our founding chairman Mayor Estrada as consultant and with the board manning over this conscientously since 2012. So 7 taon na actually binubo ang idea na ito," she said.

(This wasn't a decision made overnight. We started studying the proposal with founding chairman Mayor Estrada as consultant and with the board manning over this conscientously since 2012. This idea is 7 years in the making.) 

Roa-Rodrigo said that they've spoken to many real estate development contractors and admitted they've gotten mixed reactions about the decision to pursue the venture.

"Malungkot na masaya," Roa-Rodrigo said. "Malungkot kasi nakasanayan na itong building na ito which was transfered in 2001 after it was constructed about years before. So this has been home to us for so many years now and even before that, there was the old house bought from the owner of the property na naging earlier home offices ng Mowelfund.

(Sad but happy. Sad because we got used to this building which we transferred into in 2001 after it was constructed about a few years before. So this has home to us for many years now and even before that, there was the old house bought from the owner of the property when became the earlier home offices of Mowelfund.)

Roa-Rodrigo said that the plan may sound like a case of taking "one step backward and two steps forward," but they believe it will help them continue to run the organization.

She also said that convincing Estrada to say yes really took long because he was very hesitant about the idea. "Yung sustainability yung key niya dito na hindi na kayo kailangan manglimos as a foundation para mabigyan ninyo ng welfare benefits and educational benefits  yung mga beneficiaries ninyo." (Sustainability is key, meaning you don't need to ask for donations as a foundation to give welfare and educational benefits to your beneficiaries.)

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled on March 23 for the new building and property development.

Other activities lined up to kick off the organization's 45th year include the recognition of Mowelfund's benefactors, an introduction of the water bonsai plant as a livelihood project for its members, medical and dental mission for the members and their families, a small get together, and the official launch of the organization's website.

Mowelfund was founded in 1974 by Joseph Estrada to help the plight of the men and women who worked behind the scenes for films. The organization is one of the beneficiaries of the Metro Manila Film Festival and has helped in establishing the Film Academy of the Philippines. –

Source: Rappler

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