Two major developments marked the presidency of Arthur “Art” Misner, who by a stroke of fortune for RC Makati, happened to be president as well of Rohm & Haas Philippines, an American company engaged in the manufacture of chemical products.
After the expiration in 1974 of the Laurel-Langley Trade Agreement that granted American individuals and companies the same rights as Philippine nationals, including land ownership, American companies, Rohm & Haas among them, considered donating their real estate to local entities. As luck would have it, Pres. Art persuaded his company to donate to the Makati Rotary Club Foundation Inc. (MRCFI) the 6.5-hectare property on which stood their manufacturing plant in Las Piñas. The donation made MRCFI a land owner and eventually made the Rotary Club of Makati a rich club.
The other major development under Pres. Art’s watch was the creation of the Makati Research & Development Center (MRDC), a multi-purpose facility initially designed to provide economically-challenged families in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati with services in health, nutrition, skills training and opportunities for gainful employment. Most significantly, MRDC served as a facility that taught children with physical and mental inadequacies the 3 Rs of academics and the rudimentary skills a child needs to function on his own. In later years, MRDC would evolve to become an educational institution for children with special needs.
Pres. Art pressed on with the Jomalig Project and continued the delivery of service in the health clinic. On top of this, he built a vocational training shop where residents were given training and eventually acquired skills for employment. The simple structure was built, bayanihan style, with the men chipping in their carpentry skills and in some cases, native building materials, giving them a sense of ownership of the skills center.
Focused on Vocational Service, Pres. Art partnered with the Rotary Club of Manila for Operation Hanapbuhay, specifically the publication of four booklets with a list of job opportunities. He also embarked on other training and livelihood progrms including a hog fattening project, under which the Club provided interest- and collateral-free loans for the purchase of piglets; placement of Makati Polytechnic Community College students in jobs with Mantrade, Novelty Philippines, and Gilbarco, among other companies; and held a Secretaries’ Day, a special meeting with company secretaries as guests of honor, as a gesture of appreciation for their services.
When Typhoon Didang struck, leaving thousands homeless and hungry, the Club solicited donations from members, raising a tidy sum that enabled them to put together and deliver 2,000 bags of relief goods to as many families under Operation Tulong.
This year marked the Club’s initiation to a health area that would in time be among its longest-running service initiatives: the treatment and eradication of juvenile tuberculosis, euphemistically called primary complex. In this initial venture, the Club linked up with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society for a program that trained nutritionists and other health volunteers to administer the BCG vaccine. The program resulted in the immunization of 822 children against TB.