MANILA, Philippines– In 10 years that she has been working as a metro aide, 62-year-old Nidya Onoya has never experienced a fun-filled Christmas celebration with fellow workers.
But on Friday, she joined the more than a thousand metro aides, who held their first-ever grand Christmas party at the parking area of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in Guadalupe, Makati City.
Thanks to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) that chose them to be the beneficiaries of its 15th day of gift-giving dubbed as “Bayanihan: Pamaskong Handog ng Pagcor 2012.”
Pagcor distributed noche buena gift packs to 700 metro aides while MMDA took care of the Christmas gift packs for an additional 500 street sweepers.
The metro aides came from Marikina, Antipolo, Pateros, Pasay, Quezon City and Manila.
The state-owned gaming firm allocated more than P800,000 for the MMDA gift-giving party.
Prior to this, Pagcor also gave a grand Christmas celebration to 1,955 street sweepers from the cities of Pasay, Paranaque and Manila on December 10, 2012. The event was attended by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
“Labis po akong natutuwa sa party at mga regalong ibinigay sa amin ng Pagcor (I’m so happy for the party and the gifts we received from Pagcor),” Onoya said.
“Sampung taon na akong metro aide. Ngayon lang po kami ng karanas ng ganito kasayang pagtitipon kaya’t taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa Pagcor (I’ve been working as metro aide for 10 years. This is the first time we had a joyous gathering and we are thanking Pagcor for this),” she said.
Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat, Jr. said the Christmas party for the street sweepers was the agency’s way of expressing its gratitude to this hard working sector.
“Malapit sa puso ng Pagcor ang ating mga masipag at marangal na mga street sweepers. Sa pamamagitan ng aming gift-giving project ay hindi lamang po namin sila binibigyan ng maagang Pamasko (Honest and hardworking metro aides have been close to our hearts. With this gift-giving project we’re not only giving them early Christmas presents),” Naguiat said in a statement.
“Sila din po ay aming pinaparangalan at pinasasalamatan sa kanilang malaking tulong upang patuloy na linisin at pagandahin ang ating mga komunidad at ang ating kapaligiran (We’re also honoring them and conveying our thanks for their for their big role in making our community and environment clean and beautiful),” he added.
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said the Pamaskong Handog event carried out by Pagcor for the metro aides served as a fitting Christmas treat for the people whom he described as “heroes of the streets.”
“It’s but proper that we give them a truly merry celebration this Yuletide season given the efforts that they exert every day to maintain the cleanliness of our streets,” said Tolentino.
“We’re very thankful that Pagcor under the leadership of Chairman Bong Naguiat helped us give a truly memorable and fun-filled event for our metro aides…,” he added.
Naguiat said their employees are actively taking part in all the ongoing “Pamaskong Handog” activities nationwide.
In some institutions, he said, Pagcor workers and employees also joined hands in the renovation of existing facilities or construction of new structures for our beneficiaries.”
“Among those that we have so far turned over are the 300 square meter ‘healing garden’ for the patients of the Philippine Orthopedic Center which aims to aid the patients in their speedy recovery,” said Naguiat.
“Pagcor also renovated the hematology ward area at the National Children’s Hospital where children with life-threatening conditions like cancer are undergoing treatment.”
Pagcor’s annual nationwide “Pamaskong Handog” project was launched in December 2010 under the agency’s new management.
But the agency considered this year as its “biggest gift-giving ever” with a total of P27.5 million allocation.
Pagcor said close to 10,000 less fortunate Filipinos under the care of 42 government and charitable institutions all over the country have already been chosen as beneficiaries of the project since they started on November 29, 2012.
This year’s “Pamaskong Handog” project will end on December 20, 2012.