Recent studies conducted by the Social Weather Stations reveal that about 45.5% of jobs were lost due to the pandemic and this led to about 27.3 million unemployed Filipinos. In one of the areas in Quezon City, there are a number of informal settlers and most of them just rely on selling near the school there, but since the start of the lockdown, and the cancellation of face-to-face classes, they lost their livelihood. Among the residents who see every day as a misery, are Edwin Rendora and Juditha Pepito.
Edwin sometimes has extra work in a construction site, which is normally twice or thrice a week. But there are also times when there’s no work at all. He also collects discarded plastic materials from houses so he can sell it so he can have money to buy food for their family. He said that they’re already lucky enough if they can eat three times a day. Juditha added it’s hard for her to see their children be deprived of food. Edwin said that they just always see to it to feed their children first before themselves.
But we are still lucky to have people who take the initiative on helping the needy. One of them is Atty. Marvin Aceron who started the project “Bread of Salt.” When the community quarantine started in March, Atty. Marvin and his wife thought and got worried about those who would lose their jobs, and those who just depend on their daily income. They felt the urge to help so they came up with the idea of buying 2000 pesos worth of pandesal and giving it to the ones deprived of food. Atty. Marvin argued that pandesal only costs two pesos so if you are capable enough to buy more than that, you can be able to help other people already. They pushed through with this initiative and shared it to other people through social media, not to brag about it but to influence those who have the capability to help. Atty. Marvin and his wife were filled with gratitude when they knew that six organizations were influenced to do their initiative. And he urged people to buy pandesal not from their source anymore but from the nearby bakeries so they can be able also to help these bread shops survive.
Host Angel Locsin shared the good news to Atty. Marvin that they will support and continue their initiative. The Iba ‘Yan team aims to give 10 pieces of pandesal to every family in North Fairview every day for one whole month, which means that there should be a total of 1,600 pandesals to be made every day. That’s why the Iba ‘Yan team searched for bakeries who could provide them the daily requirement.
One of the bakeries they found was that of Mary Jane Sabidalas, who has just started their business recently. She shared that her aunt actually helped her start this business and provided her and her husband the capital for it. It was a blessing for Jane’s family because she and her husband lost their source of income because of the pandemic. Some of the pandesals they make are distributed to her aunt and her mom who also sell these. Jane wasn’t able to send their children anymore to online schooling because they couldn’t afford to buy the gadgets needed. That’s why she chose the modular mode of learning for her children. Angel asked her if they can produce 800 pandesals per day that will be given to the residents, and Jane immediately said yes. She was very happy about that challenge because it also means that they will have a regular income. Angel gave her an apron and a certificate for being a “pandesal hero.”
Angel looked for another bakery, which can help Jane. Boyren “Renz” Cataga was another lucky baker who was up for the challenge. Renz came from Masbate and he shared that life there was really hard. The income he earns isn’t enough to provide for his family. That’s why he decided to have his own bakery. However, because of the community quarantine, his family cannot travel back to Manila from Masbate. He admitted that he always misses his family and he hopes that the pandemic comes to an end so he can be with wife and children again. Renz also shared that he was able to help other people before through baking by giving them pandesal. One time, one of Renz’s neighbors asked him if he could give her pandesal because she was left with nothing, having lost her job. Renz didn’t have second thoughts about giving her. Moreover, he also became part of the Bread of Salt initiative and was able to give pandesals to deprived communities.
As early as 4am, Jane and her baker, as well as Renz, were already busy in preparing all the pandesals. Angel, together with Jane and Renz, and the barangay officials were seen gathered in a covered court to tell them the good news that 51,000 pieces of pandesal will be distributed to their community for one month.
Iba ‘Yan gave Jane’s children school supplies for their modular schooling. Renz was given a smartphone so he could talk to his family through video call. He was also given a brand new oven and baking equipment as Renz wanted to expand his business. Both of them also received ligtas bags and relief packs.
Aside from the pandesal, the residents of the community were also given 160 relief packs and 160 ligtas bags. The family of Edwin and Judith was one of the families who will receive pandesal every day for one whole month. Aside from this, they were also handed eight ligtas bags, slippers, distilled water and milk for their children, groceries, and five sacks of rice, and solar lamps. Judith and Edwin couldn’t express their happiness because of the blessings they received. They were more than thankful and grateful to have been provided what their family needs.
Watch more of stories of heroism and big-heartedness in these unprecedented times on Iba ‘Yan, , every Sunday at 6:15pm on the Kapamilya Channel and Kapamilya Online Live.