It takes a village

By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“I am quite sure there is enough people in Baguio City and La Trinidad who trace their roots to Besao who can support the stranded students even in an extended lockdown. Yes, it will take a village.”

The other week, a post on facebook revealed Atty. Atanacio Addog’s donation of pinikpikan (meat from chicken slowly beaten to death by whipping its wings and then burned) to all students from Besao, Mountain Province who were stranded in Baguio City and La Trinidad. I really have no idea how many chickens were slowly killed for that. There must have been a lot. Since, pinikpikan is a priced delicacy in Igorotland, it must have been a welcome treat. (Let us put cruelty to animals issues aside.)

The donation must have set back Atty. Addog by several thousands of pesos. Those who butchered the chickens and packed the share of each individual student also contributed a lot of effort. Also those who distributed the stuff. “What a nice lockdown,” the students must have said. “kasta man Atty. Addog. (Well and good Atty Addog.) Worth the expense.

Just the other day there was also a post by Melany Timmango, a municipal official, about donations of noodles, canned goods, rice, etc. to be distributed to the same Besao stranded students. Again, well and good.

Such good Samaritans.

There is one thing though we have to remember. There is something called donor fatigue. A person or a family cannot be expected to keep on donating. This is not a 100 meter race. The fight against Covid-19 will be long and difficult such that a community has to be a miler to be able to take of its sons and daughters..

As Hillary Clinton once said. “It takes a village to raise a child.” Properly, that is. Perhaps it would also take a village, the Besao community, to get the stranded students from Besao through the lockdown. More so that the town’s officialdom advised them that the best way, considering the facilities and resources of the town, for the students was to remain where they were. Unsaid was the implication that the town will do everything it could to help them get through the ordeal.

There are so many people from that town who went to college and chose to settle in Baguio City and La Trinidad. If all of them were asked for some donation for the students, am sure they will gladly share whatever they could. They had been students too and, at one time or another, had been through some difficulty.

Even students who were being sent enough money by their hardworking parents back then would have been through some hard times when they spent their monetary allowance gallivanting around or even gambling, or engaging in bad activities that were tempting to teenager students. Sometimes because of peer pressure. Let us accept it. Teenager students can go crazy as we once have.

But how to get those donations? Am sure the officialdom of the town, led by its active and well-loved mayor, Johnson Bantog II, have talked about that ad nauseum. Let me pitch in though my five centavos worth. Get two or three people who are not seniors to go around asking for donations from the iBesaos around. They should have a special permit to travel around and this should be easy to get from the mayors’ offices of Baguio and La Trinidad if done from mayor to mayor. They should have a list of the student beneficiaries to be shown to prospective donors who, I am very sure, would be able to recognize the names of relatives (by affinity or consanguinity) or family friends or acquaintances, or those who might have helped them sometime in the distant past. Who would not donate to a kid of a relative, no matter how distant, who is in distress?

I am quite sure there is enough people in Baguio City and La Trinidad who trace their roots to Besao who can support the stranded students even in an extended lockdown. Yes, it will take a village.

Other towns can do it also this way if they find it feasible.**

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