Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Commentary: Dreaming and undreaming among Larap's Seniors


IN 2010, they dreamed.

Four years onwards – today -- they undreamed.

That’s how it goes these days with the Senior Citizens of Larap.

Just a few days ago, I had a brief chat with one of the natives in Larap whose family was very much involved with the building of the Seniors’ social multi-purpose center, and its eventual completion.

“The Seniors have become frustrated because until now they still don’t have their own social center.

“And since there’s no way for them to raise the needed money to complete the building, they have started to stop dreaming about having it.”

I personally got involved with this project back in 2012 after seeing the shell of the structure that was started in 2010 by the Seniors’ former president Josefina Francisco.

The good Old Lady quit her post sometime last year owing to her health.

Nanay Pinang, 81, is family. My youngest sibling Lourdes, aka Bhebot, is married to his son Theudy, who is based in KSA.

And being a Senior myself (I’ll be jumping into the pen of the “sixty-six” old cows in a few weeks), I knew how the Larap Seniors had felt.

And maybe, the natives of Larap who enjoyed the milk and honey courtesy of the iron ore deposits during those days and who are now doing well overseas and elsewhere in the Philippines, should feel the same way.

For all you know, many of these fortunate LaPIMa members are now nearing their “seniorship” with a lot more in their twilight years, or are walking down the sunset boulevard.

But one thing sure, they are in a position – financially -- to help Nanay Pinay and her Seniors to resume the project

After Nanay Pinang brief me on how they started this project only to stall for good as an ugly shell of browning hollow block walls after the flow of funds halted, I personally brought the matter to Meyor Dong Padilla.

The mayor knew Nanay Pinang for obvious reasons.

Nanay Pinang’s better half – Tatay Victor – was a close buddy of Meyor Dong’s dad, the original Roy Padilla, during their labor movement’s days at the Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) until the mine had shut down.

After Meyor Dong heard my brief status story on the social center project, he called somebody on his cellphone – someone who belonged to the circle of Vice-President Jojo Binay – and inquired as to the “hows” and “what” of the funding.

As you will know, the vice-president’s office takes care of the program promoting the welfare of Senior Citizens across the country and it has funding to do so – including the building of social centers for the seniors.

In that mobile phone chat, Meyor Dong was advised (as Dong told me later) that the Php500,000 allotment had been approved, processed and was now available for release.

Meyor Dong told me that he could start working on the completion of the Larap Senior’s social hall ASAP.

However, he told me that he was going to split the money equally between Larap and Luklukan as it was also trying to build its own center for the local Seniors.

Nanay was upbeat when I told her about Meyor Dong’s big news.

In 2010, the Larap Seniors raised funds for their Senior Social Center through public dances, raffle games, bingo sessions and the usual solicitations from friendly politicians and businessmen in CamNorte.

After a time, the money buildup paid for the structure that it is now – four walls of rough hollow blocks with matching window frames, a clear blue sky and ground that, on occasions, hosted pools of water for the mosquitoes to breed.

The latest promise that Meyor Dong made – and that was to Nanay Pinang—was last October and that by December 2013, the center should have been up and smiling.

“Wala pa rin po … mukhang nalimutan na ho ang project (nothing yet… seemed the whole things has been forgotten,” said a member of the Francisco family.

At the moment, the Larap seniors were just floating around the community as they looked for a place where they could hold their regular meeting.

Most of the time, it was held at the modest rest house of Nanay Pinay at the back of their family home.

I remember her telling me last year when I came home to Mambulao for a short break: “Excited na ang mga Seniors na magkaroon sila ng sariling social center (the seniors are excited to see their building rise).”

With a place of their own, the Seniors could have the privacy they all needed, free from the prying eyes of the young ones, as they go about their “Senior activities”, which could be card games, reading or simply chatting and making noise, just to mop up the remaining years that are left of them.

And maybe, when one of the members turns a year older, they could hold the eating-and-singing party at the center, and not at somebody else’s place.

Funny, it’s a future that the Seniors now would not want to
crane their necks for.

There’s simply none in the horizon – so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment