/ 1 December 2023

SENATOR Christopher ‘Bong’ Go highlighted the role of compassionate governance in uplifting the lives of the less fortunate as he responded to the viral story of a student’s struggle in Lupon, Davao Oriental.

Jalanie Saripada, a Grade 5 honor student, captured the hearts of fellow Filipinos through a simple, yet poignant story.

Jalanie’s meal of onion leaves, soy sauce, and oil became a symbol of perseverance amid hardship that captured the attention of the lawmaker, who was moved to offer assistance to Jalanie and his family.

Imelda, Jalanie’s mother, shared in an interview the family’s challenging situation.

“Dahil sa krisis, kaya nag-ulam siya ng sibuyas noon para hindi lang siya makapag-absent sa eskwelahan, gumawa siya ng paraan. Ulam niya ay toyo at mantika tapos dinagdagan niya nalang ng dahon ng sibuyas,” she said.

She revealed that Jalanie’s father works as a tricycle driver in Davao City, and sends home an income of P500 every Monday and Friday.

The family, which includes Jalanie’s three siblings often struggle to meet their daily needs.

Imelda, meanwhile, juggles various jobs, including working in rice fields when opportunities arise, to support her family.

Jonarie Alberca, Jalanie’s science teacher who captured the poignant video that brought his story to light, shared insights into Jalanie’s situation in school.

“Napansin ko siya lang iba ang ulam. ‘Yung iba, manok, isda, hotdog ang ulam. Siya kasi, dahon lang ng sibuyas. Mayroon akong TikTok account since 2017, na-upload ko, then the following day, nag-viral,” he shared.

This story of resilience and community support garnered widespread attention, leading to the intervention of Go. The senator provided financial assistance, groceries, bags, cellphones, and a basketball.

Go emphasized the importance of community and government support in times of crisis.

“These stories remind us of our responsibility to look out for each other. It’s essential that we provide aid not just through legislation but also through direct action,” said Go.

“Our youth, like Jalanie, are the future of this nation, and it’s our duty to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed,” he added.