Let's Talk About PAGCOR

TIMELY AID

by on Dec.01, 2014, under PAGCOR CSR

ROSANNA’s smile was as bright as the ray of sunlight shining down on their humble abode.

The 31-year-old mother of four could not contain her joy when she learned that her eldest daughter, Rochelle, will be part of her school’s feeding program.

Financial difficulties plague the Armado family. Rosanna’s income from selling puto (rice cake) and her husband’s meager earnings from driving a passenger jeepney are not enough to put food on the family table.

“Dahil wala akong puhunan para makapag-tinda uli ng puto, pinagka-kasya na lang namin ang natira sa huling kinita ko at ng mister ko para maka-bili ng kahit itlog na pang-ulam ng mga bata,” Rosanna said.

A volunteer employee from Casino Filipino Angeles assists a young pupil during a recent PAGCOR feeding program held at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

A volunteer employee from Casino Filipino Angeles assists a young pupil during a recent PAGCOR feeding session held at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

Since her family is in dire straits, Rosanna is worried that her children’s health would be compromised. Their common fare of fried eggs will not be sufficient to give them the proper nutrition that they need.

Rosanna is likewise worried that her daughter Rochelle, a 12-year old grade six pupil at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga, cannot cope with school activities because she lacks nourishment. Rochelle walks more than a kilometer from their home everyday to reach her school. By the time she gets to school, she no longer has the energy to participate actively in class.

Rosanna considers it as a timely blessing that Rochelle was chosen as one of the 70 beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program through its Casino Filipino Angeles branch in Pampanga.  The feeding program benefits pupils from kinder to grade six.

“Hindi naman po pumapasok ng eskwela ang anak ko nang hindi kumakain, pero yun nga lang po, minsan ay wala siyang pambaon.  Kaya’t malaking tulong po sa amin na nasama siya sa feeding program ng PAGCOR,” Rosanna enthused.

An informative poster about PAGCOR’s intensive campaign against malnutrition catches the attention of this group of pupils from Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

An informative poster about PAGCOR’s intensive campaign against malnutrition catches the attention of this group of pupils from Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

Malino Elementary School Principal Amalia Serrano reported that of their 906 enrollees this year, 11 are classified as “severely wasted” while 59 are labeled as “wasted”.  Rochelle belongs to the “wasted” category.

According to humanitarian organization Action Contre la Faim (ACF) International which carries out the “Action Against Hunger” campaign in 45 countries, “severely wasted” are those who look almost elderly and are extremely thin and skeletal.  On the other hand, “wasted” children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition.

As of May this year, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that there are about 8,000 children in the province of Pampanga with severe lack of nutrition. Of this number, 2,080 are currently covered by the PAGCOR Feeding Program through the agency’s Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City. The branch also attends to the nutritional needs of 1,120 malnourished public school students in 16 public schools in Bulacan.

To ensure that the feeding program would produce the desired result, Serrano asked the parents of the Feeding Program beneficiaries to deworm their children.

“We consider ourselves blessed to have been chosen by PAGCOR as beneficiaries of this feeding program. This is a one-of-a-kind activity in our district since our pupils who lack nutrition are being treated to sumptuous and healthy lunch every school day.  I believe that it will have a great impact on them,” she noted.  Malino Elementary School is the 18th institution to benefit from the PAGCOR Feeding Program in Pampanga.

An employee from Casino Filipino Angeles shows off the nutritious meals they served during the recent PAGCOR Feeding Program at Guiguinto Central School in Bulacan.

An employee of Casino Filipino Angeles holds a plate with complete meal to be served to the students of Guiguinto Central School in Bulacan.

Another beneficiary is Guiguinto Central School in Guiguinto, Bulacan. A one-hectare learning institution, it is the second biggest public school in Guiguinto with an average population of 1,700 students.

Prior to the PAGCOR Feeding Program, the school could only cater to the nutritional needs of 25 pupils due to lack of funds.

“Even if we wanted to include more kids in our feeding program, our limited budget could only allow us to accommodate few students whom we thought really needed immediate nutritional aid.  Pero snacks lang iyon at hindi full meal gaya ng isine-serve ng PAGCOR,” explained Guiguinto Central School Principal Lolita Dayao.

One of the students chosen to undergo the feeding program is Grade Two pupil Leandro. The skinny eight-year-old boy always eats alone under a tree as he does not want his classmates to see him only eating fish balls bought from a vendor outside their school. He could not buy something better to eat because his parents could not give him a bigger allowance.

Even if Leandro is not as hale and healthy like some of his classmates, he belongs to the top section in his grade level and actively participates in their classroom activities.  His 37-year-old mother Rebecca proudly related that their extreme poverty does not prevent her from dreaming big for his son.

“Wala po akong ibang pangarap kundi ang makapag-tapos ng pag-aaral ang anak ko dahil siya ang ina-asahan kong makakapag-ahon sa amin sa kahirapan,” Rebecca said.  Their family only survives on the P350 daily wage of his husband Roberto who works as driver for a hardware store.

Dayao believes that Leandro can still have a bright future.  “We need to take care of pupils like Leandro who strives to perform well in class even if he is deprived of proper diet due to his family’s financial difficulties. With the proper nutrition that this PAGCOR feeding program could provide, we’re very certain that he’ll be at par with the best students in his class in the coming months,” she added.

The school head added that she also expects other beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program to make a remarkable progress in their academic performance.

“With a bigger budget at hand, we can now afford to prepare really nutritious meals that would help energize the brains of these pupils and keep them healthy.  We’d forever be grateful to PAGCOR for making our school a beneficiary of their feeding program,” Dayao cheerfully concluded. (Jesse Ong)

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