A group of local youth have initiated an effort to help garbage collectors of the city who are also frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mary Noriene Ramirez, one of the members of the group, said Monday that the initiative started out from seeing a post of some netizens calling less privileged individuals as lazy persons in depending on the support of the government in such times like this.

“Nagkaroon kami ng ideya noong nakakita kami ng isang post na nagsasabing ‘tamad’ at hindi marunong mag-ipon yong mga taong umaasa lamang sa gobyerno sa panahon ng krisis,” she said.

“Pinag-isipan namin kung sino nga ba ang pinaka-vulnerable sa krisis na ito, at karamihan sa kanila ay mga mahihirap na kung tutuusin ay hindi pa sapat ang kinikita para sa araw-araw na pagkain,” she said.

Noriene, along with her friends, tried to narrow down the list of their potential beneficiaries while considering the most underrepresented workers until they have decided to extend the support to garbage collectors.

Their group consists mostly of her friends from junior and senior in high school.

“While some of us are privileged enough to stay at home, they still have to work twice as hard. We began to ask ourselves: Are we making use of the privileges we are born with? And so, we came up with a donation drive and communicated with potential sponsors,” she said.

She said they will initially prioritize to distribute relief goods for the garbage collectors. The remaining funds from the donation could be used for procuring personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies for frontliners or could be given as support to tricycle drivers who are not able to work due to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

She said that they want to prepare food supplies for garbage collectors so they would have stocks in the Holy Week.

Noriene said that based on their proposed letter, they are expecting to help 25 individuals as they are expecting to reach the monetary donations ranging from P6,000 to P7,000.

Since Sunday, April 5, her group has already collected P11,000 and still counting from GCash and other cash donations.

“As of now wala pa kaming nakakausap na supplier ng PPE at may scarcity din ng medical supplies kaya nahihirapan
kami maghanap ng contact person. Pero yong matitira sa fund namin ay ibu-budget para sa PPE or baka sa mga tricycle driver naman na wala ring kinikita dahil walang biyahe,” she said.

She said that interested donors may extend their help anytime. They are set to buy groceries on Tuesday so they could deliver the goods on Wednesday at the Solid Waste Management site in Barangay Sta. Lourdes.

She also encouraged fellow Palaweños, particularly young individuals, to maximize the privileges and be more compassionate to those who will be needing the most.

“To our fellow Palaweños, particularly young people, let us maximize our privileges and be more compassionate towards other people. Big or small, your donation means a lot to our dearest frontliners from Solid Waste Management who work hard to help make our city clean despite the risks,” she said.

She also expressed her gratitude to those who have donated and supported their drive.

Along Noriene are her friends Tiffany Dela Rosa, Hance Aballa, Aubrey Lim, Lea Aquino, Kayla Esguerra, Julliene Diola, Thessa Oliveros, Juaren Dasco, Janna Bocita, Alyca Catarman, Roie Magura, Nicole Gabinete are making this donation drive possible.

For other donors who would like to extend their help, monetary donations could be sent through:

Mary Noriene Ramirez 09996535586
Aubrey Lim 09777174565

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