#BrigadangAyalaKaakay: Eric Francia, President & CEO of Ayala’s listed renewable energy platform ACEN, visited #BrigadangAyalaKaakay beneficiaries in Rolling Hills, Payatas.
MANILA – Raquel Catena was still mourning her husband’s death when Metro Manila was placed under strict lockdown.
“Wala po akong mahanap na trabaho dahil maraming negosyo ang nagsara,” the widow said. “Double pasakit sa pamilya namin dahil kamamatay lang ng asawa ko, tapos nag-lockdown naman.”
Giving up was not an option for Catena, a mother of two. Inspired by her neighbors, she oiled her sewing machine and started making rags out of surplus garments from Taytay, Rizal.
“Twenty five years na po akong nakatira dito sa Rolling Hills sa Payatas. Noong hindi pa gumuguho ‘yong tambakan, marami talaga dito ang nangangalakal ng basura,” she recalled. “Ngayon po, pagtatahi naman ng basahan ang aming pinagkakakitaan.”
On a good week, the single mom makes P700 from sewing rags. This, in addition to the pension she receives from SSS, is what she uses to keep her children in school.
“Magic po na napagkakasya namin iyong kita. Dalawa po ang anak ko, at parehong nag-aaral pa,” she proudly noted. “Malaking bagay po talaga para sa amin iyong natatanggap naming tulong na bigas, gulay, tinapay, at gulay mula sa Ayala.”
Eric Francia, President & CEO of Ayala’s listed renewable energy platform ACEN, visited Catena and other #BrigadangAyalaKaakay beneficiaries in Rolling Hills, Payatas on Monday.
Kaakay is a 12-week food distribution program that provides rice, fresh vegetables, canned goods, and bread to 10,000 families across Metro Manila.
“The stories of our beneficiaries affirm our decision to launch Kaakay and target those who lost their livelihood because of the pandemic. A lot of our beneficiaries here in Payatas earn less than P200 a day, and some of them must stretch that amount to cover the needs of a family of four. I am inspired by their resourcefulness and creativity, making use of available resources in the area to earn a little extra,” Francia said.
ACEN, in its solar plant in Alaminos, Laguna, runs a sustainability hub that upcycles solar panel packaging materials into eco-bricks. Aligned with Ayala’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, ACEN plans to expand this program by forging partnerships with local communities through garbage segregation and setting up collection points in sari-sari stores, groceries, and wet markets.
Albeit on a much smaller scale, Kaakay beneficiary Leonora Francisco is also promoting upcycling within the Rolling Hills community. In a community that is mostly occupied by informal settlers, 50-year-old Francisco said responsible waste management is crucial.
“Sabihin mo nang iskwater kami rito dahil hindi naman sa amin itong lupa,” she said. “Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin noon na dapat pabayaan namin ang paligid. Katulad ko, 35 years na ako rito, parang may obligasyon din akong panatilihing maayos ang paligid.”
“Dati po akong nangangalakal sa tambakan ng basura, kaya alam kong may pera sa basura,” Francisco added. “Sa upcycling or recycling, malinis na ang paligid, may konting kita ka pa. Hindi na rin masama, ‘di ba?”
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