PLDT-Smart Foundation leads aid for stranded OFWs and locals

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely turned our lives around — some for the better, while some (unfortunately) for the worse. Among those heavily affected are the OFWs and local workers whose workplaces are located outside the cities or provinces they live in. Due to quarantine restrictions, many of them have been stranded in places far from home.

Haira Aba, 29 years old, is the breadwinner of her family in Datu Paglas in Maguindanao. She applied for a job as a domestic helper in Qatar and travelled to Manila. But the COVID-19 pandemic came, overseas travel came to a halt, and as a result, she has been stuck in Manila for the past four months.

According to Aba, her situation is difficult since she is far away from her family. She said that what brought comfort during this difficult time was the help they have received from various organizations and individuals.

Kailangan kong magtiis. Nakikipagkuwentuhan na lang ako sa mga kasama ko dito para hindi ma-bored. Malaking tulong din ang cellphone at internet dahil na rin may YouTube, (I need to endure this. I just talk to some of the people that are also stranded here so that I won’t get bored. Having my cellphone with me and having Internet also helps a lot because there’s Youtube.)” Aba said.

54-year old Dennis Sebastian is a mechanical operator and harvester in Tuguegarao – a job he has been doing for six years now. He usually travels back to his hometown in Compra, Liloy in Zamboanga Del Norte three times a year. This year, he was scheduled to return home last April 6. But due to the pandemic, his flight was rescheduled to June 5 – and then was again cancelled.

Unable to fly home, Sebastian stayed for several weeks at a footbridge near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Last June 11, he was transferred to the Villamor Elementary School. In order to buy food, Sebastian said he had sold some of his personal belongings. This included his cellphone, which he sold for P300, a luggage for P500 and his shoes for P200.

According to Sebastian he lived like a nomad for weeks. “Palipat-lipat ako ng puwesto kapag sobrang init at umuulan. Sana hindi na maulit ito kasi apat na buwan na akong hindi nakakauwi. Wala na akong communication [sa aking pamilya]. Pero bago ko ibinenta ang cellphone ko, natawagan ko na sila at sinabi kong h’wag mag-alala, (I keep changing positions and places where to stay, especially when it is extremely hot or when it rains. I hope this never happens again because it’s been four months that I haven’t been home. I don’t have any communication with my family. But before I sold my cellphone, I was able to call them and tell them not to worry.)” Sebastian said.

Aba and Sebastian are two of the 350 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSI’s) at the Villamor Elementary School in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City. They received meals and other assistance from the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) through employee-led fundraising initiatives such as the Fairness, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability (F.I.T.A.) Video Challenge and Kapit Kapatid Program.

The PSF also partnered with the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region.

“Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters who are struggling to be reunited with their families. We understand how important being with family is in order to cope better during this difficult time. We hope that our simple gesture brought them some joy, especially during these trying times,” said PLDT-Smart Foundation President Esther Santos.

On June 25, Sebastian is scheduled to finally come home.

To know more about the efforts of the PLDT Group in beating the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit http://beta.pldt.com/covid19/.

Marikina Teacher wins Foton van from Gabay Guro Foundation

Mary Jean Libot, a 26-year-old teacher from Marikina City is the proud new owner of an 8-seater Foton Gratour Van. She won the vehicle as a raffle prize from Gabay Guro’s Grand Gathering on September 22, 2019.

The PLDT-Smart Foundation’s flagship advocacy program for teachers, last year celebrated its 12th anniversary with a prize-filled and all-star Grand Gathering, along with the launch of the Gabay Guro app at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The event gathered over 20,000 teachers from all over the country to experience a historical Teachers’ Tribute, which was headlined by the country’s biggest stars such as Aegis, Angeline Quinto, Christian Bautista, Ian Veneracion, Jaya, Jed Madela, Kyla, Kuh Ledesma, Martin Nievera, Moira dela Torre, Ogie Alcasid, Piolo Pascual, Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Gabby Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta, who were reunited by a performance on-stage after a very long time.

In addition to all the artists that entertained the teachers during the event, Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones also graced the evening with her presence. Many prizes were given away to the attendees, including the Foton Gratour van won by Teacher Mary Jean of Mother Divine Providence School, and Teacher Maricel Bustillo of Las Pinas City National Senior High School – CAA Campus who won a brand new house and lot.

The launch of the Innovations pillar

Aside from entertainment, Gabay Guro’s Grand Gathering 2019 was also used a platform to launch of the Gabay Guro App. This move is the foundation’s “seventh pillar” of activities, which include classroom donation, scholarships, teachers’ training, livelihood programs, connectivity and computerization, and the Teachers’ Tribute.

The new Digital Innovations Pillar of Gabay Guro aims to reinforce the digital transformation for Filipino teachers, school leaders, and stakeholders by equipping them with new modes of teaching and the latest technology that will enable them to create, grow, and evolve their craft for the benefit of their students.

Backed by this new learning pillar, Gabay Guro introduces an application for teachers that will provide e-learning content and interactive technology and ready-to-use online tools that are aligned with the DepEd and CHED curriculum. This will provide teachers with the latest and easily accessible educational resources right at their fingertips. The new Gabay Guro app will be launched before the end of the year.

“Gabay Guro continues to develop innovative programs for our teachers and our partners in nation-building,” Gabay Guro Chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla said. “Every year, it is our great honor to be able to give back to our teachers through a grand tribute and we always look forward to continuing this mission and empower them through Gabay Guro’s previously six and now seven core pillars of learning.” 

For more information and updates about Gabay Guro, visit gabayguro.com, like and follow the official Gabay Guro Facebook account, Twitter and Instagram at @PLDTGabayGuro.

The biggest stars gather for PLDT-Smart Gabay Guro’s Grand Gathering 2019

PLDT-Smart Foundation’s flagship advocacy program for teachers, Gabay Guro, is celebrating its 12th anniversary with a star-studded Grand Gathering 2019 happening on September 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Gabay Guro is gathering over 20,000 teachers from all over the country for a star-studded Teacher’s Tribute headlined by the country’s biggest stars.

Among the performers are Aegis, Angeline Quinto, Christian Bautista, Eat, Bulaga! BakClash, Eat, Bulaga! Broadway Boys, Edward Barber, Erik Santos, Darren Espanto, Gabby Concepcion, Ian Veneracion, Jaya, Jay-R, Jayson Dy, Jed Madela, Jona, K Brosas, Klarisse de Guzman, Kyla, Kuh Ledesma, Martin Nievera, Maymay Entrata, Moira dela Torre, Piolo Pascual, Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Zephanie Dimaranan.
The event will be hosted by Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, and Dimples Romana.

“Gabay Guro continues to develop innovative programs for our teachers and our partners in nation-building,” says Gabay Guro Chairperson Chaye Cabal-Revilla. “Every year, it is our great honor to be able to give back to our teachers through a grand tribute and we always look forward to continuing this mission and empower them through Gabay Guro’s seven core pillars of learning.”

Since 2007, Gabay Guro has been empowering teachers across the country through its seven key pillars: housing and educational facilities, scholarships, trainings, livelihood programs, broadbanding and computerization, annual Teacher’s Tribute, and the newly launched innovations pillar.