One Barkada Gave a Barangay in Iloilo Reasons to Smile
Lory Joyce Andagan | Mar 31, 2020
Photos courtesy of John Vincent Bionat
More than a health issue, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone on a socio-economic level. Weeks after the community quarantine started in the Philippines, millions of Filipinos have lost their daily jobs that provide for their families, including casual wage earners like jeepney, tricycle, and motorcycle drivers. It is this situation that pushed some youth in Iloilo to give relief goods to their town.
A group of friends in Sara, Iloilo took the initiative to help those who are in need. “There is this moment that our topic of our conversation was about the people who need to go out every day just to earn money to provide food to their family,” John Vincent Bionat said. One of their barkada suggested initiating a gift-giving program. “Since indi kami ya manggaranon, nag istoryahanay kami nga mag message sa mga close friends man namon kung gusto nila mag take part sa idea nga magbulig man sa taga- Sara." (Since we are not rich, we talked that we will message our close friends if they are also willing to take part in the idea of helping our fellow taga-Sara) With 41 donors who gave canned goods, cash and face masks, they gathered enough goods for one barangay in their town.
It was a great day in Brgy. Aposaga, Sara, Iloilo when this group of friends distributed their collected relief goods. Seeing the smiles on the residents' faces as they received a simple pack of goods makes the group happy. “Kanami sang feeling kay kabudlay gid sang sitwasyon nila didto. Ara na sila sa babaw bukid kag wala sila pangitan-an nga iban (It’s a great feeling because their situation is very difficult. They are in the mountains and they don’t have anything to get),” says Bionat. Aside from the packs, they also handed leaflets with the information about COVID-19 in Hiligaynon dialect for easier understanding. This simple act of the group helped boost the morale of the people living in the remote areas, inspiring other youth to do the same. “You don’t need to be rich to help others. [It] doesn’t matter if small or big is your contribution. The important thing is you gave it wholeheartedly to others.”