Angel Thought for Today
“Live life one day at a time
Share it with people
Who matters most to you,
For life is a little jar of memories,
So fill it up
With people worth remembering!” Thanks to Mons Tantoco
God got an earful of appeals from representatives of different faiths last Friday when the Interfaith Family Prayer Gathering was held at
the Rizal Park.
Leading the gathering to ask for God’s divine intervention to avert war and other world conflicts were Bishop Efraim Tenderom the National
Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and Philip Juco, chairperson of the Tri-Sectoral Corporate Body, the National Social
The faiths represented were Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai Faith, the Roman Catholic Church, the Federation of Transparochial Charismatic
Communities, the National Service Community Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Philippines, the Evangelical Church of the Philippines, and the
Apostolic Catholic Church.
The gathering is one of the offshoots of the last Interfaith Convention of Peace and Development held last year. It is symbolic of the
solidarity of all religious denominations and sects towards a common objective – national and global peace.
We certainly hope all the prayers found their way to God, and that He was not too tired from humanity efforts to destroy their face to listen!
Anyway, to a more pleasant subject… last Christmas we received lovely tokens from friends as well as memorable ones… among them,
“collectibles” like mini calendars, memo books and stationery from PCCA, coffee beans from Senator Ed Angara, a pashmina shawl from Senator
Serge and Bettina Osmeña, home-baked goodies from Ann Puno, pate’ from Dondon and Delia Paderanga, “holy” cookies baked by the Contemplative
Sisters of the Good Shepherd, cards from friends informing us that in our name, such-and-such an organization was the recipient of a cash gift
from the sender, or a tree planted in our name, and gossamer angels made from recycled nylon stockings sent by Ditas and Cuchi Lerma.
The last gift, we hung on the swag over our fireplace in Tagaytay, an honored place, beneath our manger from the Focolare priests, Frs. Vic,
Rory and Rolly. We learned from Ditas that he angels were made by the residents of Smokey Mountain as part of a livelihood program and marketed
by a private, non-stock, nonprofit organization, the Foundation for the Fullness and Integrity of Creation.
The first products of the recycled stockings group were butterflies (symbolizing birth and new life). Today there are insects, birds, fruits
and holiday decor, hand made by twenty out-ofschool youths.
The partner of the foundation in the Smokey Mountain livelihood project is the administrationfunded Sambayanan ng Muling Pagkabuhay
Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SMPMPC). “God’s Kraft” the brand of the products produced by the residents of the former garbage dump of Manila
with its 1,500 tons of waste daily, now includes bags made from recycled materials from the dump. Ditas was carrying a paper bag, braided to
look like weeds at our First Saturday mass in Lipa recently and it was a big hit.
Smokey Mountain became an infamous landmark of the country in the late eighties and early nineties. Then FVR had it cleaned up in 1995 and
temporary housing for the scavengers set up.
Three years later, under the Estrada administration, the dump was again the dumping ground for Manila’s solid waste, with the garbage stinking
up the place. The temptation for the residents then was to go back to scavenging where they could earn R300 a day.
But many of the residents yearned for a better future for their children, so when the opportunity to learn a craft came with the setting up of
the SMPMPC center, they joined the training. One of them was Aling Loida who currently resides in building II.
She started scavenging at age 14. Now married and the mother of seven, she earns a decent living from making ladies bags from recycled paper.
Some of her cotrainees went back to scavenging, but not Aling Loida. She wants to keep her children from the dump, and she wants to “smell
clean” after working every day.
Somehow, the stench of garbage in Smokey Mountain is impossible to wash off. The smell clings to the clothes, to the skin, to one’s hair.
Aling Loida after years of being “trapped” in Smokey Mountain, refuses to go back to her “stinky” environment. And she doesn’t want any of
her children to be a scavenger. She wanted a better life for all of them, so she persevered in the bag-making project. Now, she creates her own
There are now over forty different styles of the bags and they are available at the different God’s Kraft kiosks in malls like Glorietta. They
range from R90 to R500 a piece. Fernando Zobel de Ayala, known for his charitable works, donated the kiosk at Glorietta 1, rent-free.
Congresswoman Cynthia and Senator Manny Villar contributed the area on the second floor of Starmall in Alabang.
Back in Tondo, the GK Livelihood Center is proof of the robust sales of the bags and recycled stocking products. There have a recreation
center, a kindergarten, offices for free medical and legal services, micro-finance, environment support and values formation. Training and
production are ongoing and the products are showcased there.
There are hundreds of heart-warming success stories from Smokey Mountain like Aling Loida. They prove that beautiful things can come from
recycled garbage and that preserving Mother Earth is a worthwhile endeavor for everyone.
Readers can reach the foundation at tel. 727-0681.
©Copyright 2003, The Manila Bulletin (Phillipines)
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