Living on the Edge: A gross of PhP1,500.00 monthly income, the couple earnings are mostly spent on foods together with their three children.

 

Feature Story

 

Dárlán Páléncìá Barcelón

 

www.philexaminer.com

 

 Legazpi City, [02.07.19] –  An obscure, plain and petite mother of seven never walk away from her obligations as a mother and a reliable partner to her husband, in making a daily living to make both ends meet the hard way – she is a photograph of a woman representing an unconditional love, devotion, and sacrifice.

Madona on the Road. The dire financial stress they are experiencing has forced her to go out to the streets to earn a living in collecting valuable scrap materials for daily sustenance. The Philippine Examiner photo.

Madonna on the Road. The dire financial stress they are experiencing has forced her to go out to the streets to earn a living in collecting valuable scrap materials for daily sustenance. The Philippine Examiner Photo.

On Tuesday afternoon a scene along BUCENG road the street who is almost empty of pedestrians as the Chinese New Year is being celebrated, a friend of mine (Ed Atutubo) has alerted me as he caught his attention and poked me telling about a diminutive woman who has just passed by pedaling a “padyak” or local pedicab and is carrying an infant.

Her passage was a random scene-stealer and portraying a classical human interest story that is unfolding on the street that lazy Tuesday afternoon while the local Chinese in the province are celebrating their Spring Festival.

While the Year of the Pig is believed to be symbolizing prosperity and is being celebrated for optimism and wealth – here is a woman pedaling her rusty pedicab loaded with assorted salvaged scrap materials (plastics, cardboard, etc.)

The sight is absorbing as the woman is holding on to the left end of the bike’s handl bar with her left hand – while carrying her baby girl is on her right hand as it completely depicting the sharp contrast of a life  that wallows in the comfort zone with affluence and is how to live and survive under poverty.

Mother and a Child on “Padyak

Admitting paucity in life, the donated pedicab by the nuns of Santa Rafaela Dormitory in Sagpon, Daraga, Albay, Gemma has admitted that the nun’s generosity in donating to them the pedicab is of great help in their livelihood.

The 35 years old woman is a nursing mother to her four months old infant, Maria Gina.

On Tuesday afternoon she defied the harmful elements on the street such as heat, specks of dust, noxious fumes to say the least – she brought her infant along with her in collecting scraps on board her padyak to earn a living.

Unknown to the public consciousness particularly the passers-by these mother and the child are making their poignant political statement on the street on that afternoon.

Indigence

The family resides in Purok 6, Barangay Kilicao, Daraga, Albay, a village located at the foot of Mayon Volcano.

She is married to Edgardo Lopo of Camalig, Albay with seven children.

The dire financial stress they are experiencing has forced her to go out to the streets to earn a living in collecting valuable scrap materials for daily sustenance.

The couple subsists through sheer diligence and patience (sipag at tyaga) performing on menial jobs by selling vegetables in the local market while Gemma tends the household chores – this is their normal daily routines.

“But I was compelled to do the rounds along the streets of Daraga and Albay District in Legazpi City by collecting plastics, cardboard, bottles, and anything of value. I did not buy scraps, I just collect them for free from households who are kind and generous enough in storing their discarded scraps,” she explained.

The collected discarded materials are sold at a local junk shop in Bagtang, Daraga

Last December 2018 after delivering Maria Gina she ventured again into the streets to earn a living.

A gross of PhP1,500.00 monthly income, the couple earnings are mostly spent on foods together with their three children as their three other children were already adopted, Gemma narrated.

Too much poverty, too little opportunity to make a turn-around and rise above from indigence they are lured to indulge in betting on “jueteng.”

(“Naga taya kami sa jueteng sa Kilicao ki ‘Ta Litoy na Kampana tibad mangana barang kami, ayo na kami pang bakal nin pagkaon dangan pang tuma-tuma,”)We bet our money in jueteng in Kilicao to Uncle Litoy na Kampana with a hope of winning, if we won we will have money to buy food including viand, Gina said in Daragueño.

Jueteng Combination Numbers: (“Naga taya kami sa jueteng sa Kilicao ki ‘Ta Litoy na Kampana tibad mangana barang kami, ayo na kami pang bakal nin pagkaon dangan pang tumatuma,”)We bet our money in jueteng in Kilicao to Uncle Litoy na Kampana with a hope of winning, if we won we will have money to buy food including viand, Gina said in Daragueño.

(“Naga taya kami sa jueteng sa Kilicao ki ‘Ta Litoy na Kampana tibad mangana barang kami, ayo na kami pang bakal nin pagkaon dangan pang tuma-tuma,”)We bet our money in jueteng in Kilicao to Uncle Litoy na Kampana with a hope of winning, if we won we will have money to buy food including viand, Gina said in Daragueño.

An Act of Kindness and Generosity

(“Nahihiling ko na siya na naglilibot digdi (Barangay 3) kan 2018, pero dai ko tanda kung mga anung bulan ito, basta badus na siya. Bali naga padyak sana siya pag naga kolekta siya nin mga karton asin plastics, pirmi mi siya pig aabangan para titawan nin mga piglumaan na mga gamit, groceries, plastic buda karton.) I have seen here in 2018, but I cannot remember what month was it. She uses the pedicab when she is collecting discarded cardboard, plastics, we regularly wait for her to pass by to provide old clothes, used wares and food items including groceries.

We missed seeing her actually since last quarter of 2018, but we were surprised seeing her and her baby on board on the pedicab and is barely covered with a bonnet. Doing that is an odd thing because she might catch noxious elements along the way, Cherry Nuyda, 29 years old, mother, a resident of Barangay 3, Legazpi City told in a statement with www.philexaminer.com

The Lowest level of Job Creation

An Infographics on Government's Job Generation. Ibon.Org Photo.

An Infographics on Government’s Job Generation. Ibon.Org Photo.

The plight of Gemma and her family is just a representation of an encapsulated characteristic qualities that features of something much larger poverty incidence depicting how the poor Albayanos lives in the edge.

Their plight is a microcosm of poverty threshold in the province and it speaks of a much larger poverty prevalence on the national perspective.

Meanwhile, the Ibon Foundation in their report has cited a report about the dismal government performance in job creation  http://ibon.org/2019/01/ibon-replies-to-presidential-spokesperson-on-employment-situation The PSA reported employment of 40.998 million in 2016 which increased to 41.160 million in 2018. Subtracting 40.998 million from 41.160 million gives us 162,000. This 162,000 is the net job creation between 2016 and 2018 or, put another way, the sum of new jobs created in 2017 and 2018.

Dividing 162,000 by two gives us 81,000 which, therefore, is the average annual job generation in 2017 and 2018 which are the first two full years of the Duterte administration.

The same exercise was done with PSA data covering the terms of previous administrations, the report ended.

Therefore, if in the context of some private individuals believes generosity is the flower of justice – it is imperative for a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.