Cita Astals makes her vow to Manilans

Cita Astals, the TV-movie-stage actress who is City of Manila's 5th District councilor, has been making a promise that her foundation A.S.T.A.L.S. Foundation Manila Inc. will be reaching out to many residents of the Philippines capital.

By Guil Franco (Correspondent)

Published: Mon 14 Aug 2006, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:25 PM

A.S.T.A.L.S. (or Aktibong Samahang Tapat Ang Lingkod sa Siyudad) is accredited by the PCNC or Philippine Council for Nongovernment Organisation Certification. This validates the foundation as one of the 400 institutions of certified donees status.

This means that our foundation is legit and legal, Cita, the current chairman of the city's engineering department who has served as city councilor for three terms since 1998, proudly says. "We went through so many legal paperworks and other legal investigations in order for us to get that certification from PCNC. I'm proud to say that this foundation that I put up in honour of my father, Mario Astals, has helped a lot of people since we started eight years ago.

To date, A.S.T.A.L.S. has already helped more than 50,000 residents of Manila. "In a week, the foundation helps like 100 people, Cita counts. Those are the normal solicitations from people who seek medical assistance, payment for hospital bills, wake and burial of family members and relatives, feeding programmes for the children and recreation for the youth.

Last February, Cita and her foundation gave away Lifetime Memorial Grants (in cooperation with Lions Club International) to public school teachers of District 1 to District 6 of Manila. The said grants benefited more than 12,000 teachers. This August, the foundation will be giving away the same memorial grants to policemen and firemen of the capital city.

A month ago, A.S.T.A.L.S. started a new project called Tiyenda-Citas. This gives qualified residents a chance to put up their own sari-sari (variety) store. The foundation will provide the store supplies and a seminar on how to handle the store's finances.

We have so far opened 36 sari-sari stores, most of them in Tondo, Cita adds. "We are screening families who are applying for their own sari-sari store. We want to make sure that they will be able to take care of their supplies and make money out of it. We don't want it all to go to waste. That's why we are also giving them seminars on how to handle their business. They will have no problems with the supplies because the foundation will replenish their stocks when they need it."

Last July 30, Cita became the solemnising officer of a mass wedding held on top of Del Pan Bridge. Two hundred couples, all coming from Baseco, Parola and Island Puting Bato, were wed for the first time on top of a highway bridge.

"We made history with Del Pan Bridge," Cita laughs. "It's the first time that a mass wedding was held there and we almost did not get a permit because the officer there said that it might cause traffic congestion. But thank God, the wedding went through as scheduled that Sunday at 9 a.m. The reception was also held there and we had more than 1,000 guests. Every year, the foundation organises mass weddings and this year, I was made a solemnising officer of the 200 couples."

Other noteworthy projects lined up from A.S.T.A.L.S. are the tree-planting project along R-10, the opening of Zobel-Roxas extension for it to be a national road, rehabilitation of internal streets and civic projects for the youth of Manila.

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