Posted: Friday | December 9, 2011 | 1:00 PM
WHEN he lost his father to liver cancer four years ago, Christmas had never been the same for 13-year old Spencer de la Cruz.
Despite growing up in a poor family, Spencer says life was bearable when his father was around. Now, his 48-year old mother Rebecca is the sole breadwinner, eking a living by scavenging and doing laundry to feed her seven children. Due to financial difficulties, Spencer wasn’t able to go to school. But through the scholarship program of DZMM Radyo Patrol for the less fortunate children, the shy young boy is now a Grade 1 student.
Though still missing his father, Spencer had an early Christmas celebration this year after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) picked him and over 300 kids and street families under DZMM’s Maligayang Paslit Project as the 14th day beneficiaries of the state-gaming firm’s “Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR 2011: 25 Days of Christmas, 25 Years of PAGCOR” nationwide gift-giving project.
PAGCOR distributed noche buena gift packs to 50 families living in karitons and gift packs containing food and personal items to over 250 indigent children and DZMM scholars during the special Christmas party held at the Enchanted Kingdom Grounds in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The kids and some street families were treated to a fun-filled afternoon of rides, gifts and food.
Maricel Harder, 36, a single mother who lives in a kariton with her four children, was overwhelmed to see the happy faces of her children during the special Christmas party staged for them by PAGCOR and DZMM.
After a series of failed relationships, Maricel does not expect too much from other people. She makes a living out of scavenging garbage and considers herself lucky whenever she earns at least P100 a day. “Masaya na kami na sama-sama ngayong Pasko. Pero ang pinakamalaking wish ko talaga para sa mga anak ko ay maging masaya ngayong Pasko… maranasan ang mga rides at makakita ng maraming paputok. Salamat sa inyo dahil natupad ang wish ko,” she said.
DZMM’s Special Projects Manager May Valle-Ceniza said the “Maligayang Paslit Project” began in 1995 as a yuletide treat for indigent children, cancer stricken kids and orphans from various institutions in Metro Manila. “They are the ones usually deprived of the joys and festivities of the Christmas season.”
Ceniza shared that teaching the less privileged how to fish instead of giving dole-outs is their long-term goal. To fulfill this mission, the station launched the Teaching Learning Caring project which provides occasional livelihood seminars for indigent families. It also helped poor yet deserving students get education through scholarship programs.
“DZMM - being the leading radio and TV institution in delivering news as it happens - is also recognized for being at the forefront of extending public service. The Maligayang Paslit Project caters to the silent call of our brethren in need,” Ceniza explained.
“We honor and recognize the unwavering support of institutions like PAGCOR as our partner in public service. We express our heartfelt gratitude to PAGCOR for choosing DZMM’s Maligayang Paslit Project as one of the beneficiaries of their Christmas gift-giving project. PAGCOR’s humble gesture symbolizes the true meaning of Christmas by giving love and care to our kapamilyas in need,” she added.
According to Maricar Bautista, PAGCOR’s Assistant VP for Corporate Communications, PAGCOR is equally honored to join DZMM in giving joy and yuletide cheers to the less fortunate kids and street families under the Maligayang Paslit Project.
“PAGCOR hopes to reach out to as many sectors of society. It has already shared its blessings to institutions that care for the disabled, the abandoned, the elderly, the mentally-challenged and many more. But we also recognize that Christmas is for children and for those who have less in life. We are glad that we made it possible today,” Bautista said.
Meanwhile, DZMM anchors Bernadette Sembrano, Cory Quirino and the young stars of Going Bulilit TV show added color to the event.