Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sitio Pagkakaisa, Sucat, Muntinglupa City

Mr. Joe Molano, the former Executive Director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) requested a Feeding Project in a depressed area of Sitio Pagkakaisa, in cooperation with Aming Munting Handog Foundation (AMHF), Inc. It is very commendable that some group from the very affluent families in the Ayala Alabang Village is helping the very poor, squatter areas of Muntinglupa. There are 4000 families with 7000 population packed in Sitio Pagkakaisa where there are no streets, only alleys. We parked in somebody’s compound and walk the rugged, dusty, dirty East Service Road into the narrow alleys, down a path leading into a small church where we had the activity. As we thread our way, people were watching these “strangers” ‘invade’ their neighborhood. But we bring gifts and food and we were very much welcomed and felt secure.

The FtH Volunteers in the Philippines converged from all points in Luzon to Zone 1, Sitio Pagkakaisa, Sucat, Muntinglupa City. Pol and Merci Sebastian came all the way from Imus, Cavite with their daughter and twin mestiza apos. They arrived almost at the tail end of the program because of the ‘normal heavy traffic’ but they came and saw the place. They did not stay longer because of other appointments. Lottie, Ethel, Goody and Betty Litorja, Vilma Suguitan, Tessie Marfori, Violy Gavino came from Shangri-La Edsa. Baby Hererra, Danny and Lilia Alba came from Quezon City. Pablito, Tessie and Samantha Perez De Tagle (the 4-yr old grand daughter of Tess whom somebody noticed that she doesn’t belong to the squatter’s families), drove from South Bay Subdivision in Sucat West Service Road to the meeting place in Sucat on the East Service Rd and it took almost an hour to reach the place. The local government is trying to concrete the road and having one lane reversible traffic is compounding the traffic congestion.

The FtH Group joined the local group compose of Congressman Ruffy Biazon, Ms. Trina Biazon (Chairperson and President of Aming Munting Handog Foundation, AMHF, Inc.), Ms. Biazon (wife of Senator Biazon), Joe and Celia Molano, Regie Salonga and Edgardo Gabutin. The morning portion of the visit is to observe the feeding program for 100 kids of indigent families. Each kid, accompanied by a parent, was given a cup of rice and a cup of mixed vegetables and ground meat soup dish. The kids enjoyed their nutritious meal and some were asking for more. Betty mentioned to Tess that one mother was feeding her skinny daughter with rice only. Tess talked to the mother and advised her to also give the kid some ulam to give her some complete nutrition. It was speculated that the mother was saving the ‘ulam’ for dinner later. We also brought this issue to the head of AMHF to closely supervise the feeding program. Some of the parents are also taking the food home instead of eating at the feeding center, maybe to share the food with the rest of the family.

The afternoon portion of the visit is to give gifts to 50 school kids in the same area. After a short program where recognition where given to the parents and FtH volunteers, Estella and Lottie gave an inspirational message to the kids. Each kid was given a back pack filled with coloring book, crayon, ruler, and eraser. Betty and Goody brought some ball pens and each kid was given 4 each. Ethel also brought some coloring books. Tess bought some chocolates from the Duty-Free shop and Samantha helped in giving them to the kids.

Last Sunday, Jan 27, 2008, Martin went with Tess and Pablito to buy the gifts at 168 Mall in Divisoria for the fifty kids at Sitio Pagkakaisa and for others in the FtH list. We end up buying back packs, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, panties, jockeys, etc. Last Monday, January 28, 2008 we went to National Book Store to buy more school supplies like dictionaries, rulers, coloring books, etc. In the afternoon, to complete the school supplies, we went to Makro to buy more school supplies like hand towels, snacks, tooth paste, soap, etc. These buying activities where once handled by CFO staff but was discontinued by the present administration. FtH is very lucky to have Martin assist FtH to find the source and in the negotiation for a cheaper price of the items.

The highlight of this Feeding Project Mission is the offer of Goody and Betty Litorja to sponsor another module in another Zone in Sucat. Goody was so moved by the plight of the hungry kids. The Litorja’s left for Samar the following day and as soon as the funds are made available to FtH, the additional Feeding Project in another Zone will be implemented.