The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)'s "Pamaskong Handog 2010 - 12 Days of Christmas" continues to bring cheers to the less fortunate under the care of charitable institutions.
On its third day, the Pamaskong Handog benefited 35 orphans and abandoned kids of the Precious Heritage Children's Home and 18 senior citizens at the Kanlungan ni Inang Maria Home for the Aged. Both charitable institutions are located in Antipolo City.
The Precious Heritage provides shelter, care and nutrition to children who are abandoned, neglected or abused.
Pastor Joey Santos, director of the charitable center, said the children taken in by the center were either endorsed by DSWD, barangay officials or brought by the kids' relatives. "Some parents entrust their children to us when they are no longer able to provide for their basic needs like food. Yung iba binabalikan ang mga anak nila kapag may hanapbuhay na, pero yung iba hindi na nagpakita," he said.
Precious Heritage tries to sends the children to nearby schools through the help of generous benefactors. "Even with these donations, we are still having a hard time to make ends meet," explained Santos. "It's a big blessing that PAGCOR included us as one of its Pamaskong Handog beneficiaries. Maagang dumating ang Pasko sa amin ngayon," he added.
PAGCOR granted the Christmas wish of Precious Heritage to have an entertainment package for their wards (flat TV and DVD player), 10 sacks of rice and grocery items worth P10,000.
Another Pamaskong Handog beneficiary was the Kanlungan ni Maria, a center for abandoned and homeless elderly people. Despite its being an apostolate of the Diocese of Antipolo, institution head Fr. Uldarico Dioquino said elderly people living outside Antipolo are also welcome "because the people who support our advocacy also come from different places."
The home for the aged is 100% dependent on donations. Volunteers like doctors, nurses, caregivers and even beauticians, render services for free. "We are only able to survive through the help of people of goodwill. We consider PAGCOR's visit to us today as one of the many blessings we have received from kindhearted people," he added.
Among those under the care of the Kanlungan ni Maria is former actor Vic Barrion who used to play villain in the movies of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and 86-year old Doroteo Nuñez who was the former postmaster of Mindoro.
Now past his seventies, Barrion said he voluntarily came to the Kanlungan ni Maria through the help of newsman Raffy Tulfo after being penniless and with no means to support himself. "Maraming salamat at may nakaalala sa amin dito. Masaya kaming lahat na kami ay nagkaroon ng mga bisita," Barrion said.
On the other hand, Nuñez said he put 16 of his nieces and nephews through school only to be forsaken in the end. "They brought me here, no one wanted to take care of me," he said sadly. On the verge of tears, Nuñez recalled seeing one of his nephews at the center when their organization of sailors came over to conduct an outreach mission in the center. "Hindi man lang ako nilapitan o kinumusta," he said.
The two men are thankful to PAGCOR for visiting them and their friends at the home for the aged and for making them feel important again. They received gift packs from the state-gaming firm containing toiletries, clothing and other basic commodities.
Aside from these, PAGCOR donated to the Kanlungan ni Maria sacks of rice, refrigerator, groceries and medicines for hypertension. "We have been praying for these medicines because this is what we lack and what we need most," said Fr. Dioquino.
The Precious Heritage and Kanlungan ni Maria are among the 24 charitable institutions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces chosen by PAGCOR as beneficiaries of its Christmas gift-giving project. For the duration of the Pamaskong Handog - 12 days of Christmas project, other outreach missions will be held in communities where PAGCOR casinos operate like Angeles, Bacolod, Davao, Tagaytay, Olongapo, Laoag, Mimosa, Mactan and Cebu.
During PAGCOR's gift-giving in Precious Heritage and Kanlungan ni Maria, the PAGCOR Voice Symphony choir, actor/commercial model Lloyd Zaragoza and veteran singer Victor Wood provided entertainment for the beneficiaries.