It was Silvestre “Beteng” Punzalan, ninth president, who concretized the Club’s integrated community development strategy, a scheme designed to deliver a package of services that covers as many community needs as possible.
The platform for this application, and Pres. Beteng’s signature undertaking, was the Jomalig Project. As conceived, the project entailed the Club’s “adoption” of the impoverished fishing community of Jomalig Island off the coast of Quezon that lay in the direct path of the vicious typhoons that visit the country every year, to bring to it fruits of development that it had never had a taste of.
Initial efforts centered on filling the absence of a very basic community need: health service. The Club put up a medical clinic, staffed it with two full-time nurses and stuffed it with medicines for fever, colds, coughs, diarrhea, and other simple ailments. Doctor-members paid periodic visits to the island to offer consultations, checkups, and basic treatment in medical missions. Because the land-and-boat trip was time-consuming and dangerous, they would come in by private plane and sometimes spent the night, relishing meals of fish fresh from the sea and sleeping on cots. The service was a godsend for the Jomalig people who before the advent of RC Makati had not been visited by a health worker, let alone seen the likes of a doctor.
Years later, a deadly typhoon tore through the island, leaving the structure that housed the clinic in tatters and beyond repair.
To this day senior members of the Club who had the opportunity to join the trips to the island have fond memories of the experience and still bask in the warm feelings that come with having done a good turn for another, especially those in most need.