BALINTAWAK MARKET, QUEZON CITY – Vice-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday visited this market for his Biyahe Ni Kiko (BNK) series where he met with buyers and market vendors and listened to their appeals and problems.
Marilyn Langgam and Elenita San Pedro-Cruz are two of the people Pangilinan met, informing the lawmaker about the dilemmas that both consumers and market vendors face amid the price hike of basic commodities.
“Napakahirap talaga ng buhay ngayon kasi nagtitinda ako dito at namimili din. Ang P300 na kinikita ko sa pagtitinda ng gulay ay kulang nga sa isang araw na pangangailangan ng aking pamilya,” Langgam, a mother of five, said.
Pangilinan joined Langgam while she tried to spend her P300 profit from a day’s work.
Langgam was only able to buy half a kilo of rice, oil, cabbage, and a big can of sardines. Her money was not enough to buy pork or fish, a source of protein that is needed by the body to remain healthy.
“Doon mo makikita iyong kakulangan at kagutuman pati na rin iyong kakulangan ng sustansya sa kinakain ng ating mga kababayan. Iyon din ang dahilan kung bakit napakataas ng malnutrisyon kasi napakahalaga ng protina para maging malusog ang ating mga [kababayan],” Pangilinan said.
“Si Marilyn, ubos na kaagad iyong [pera] niya sa kanyang binili na bigas. Paano na iyong karne, iyong protina? Saan niya kukunin? Lima ang anak niya,” he added.
According to data from UNICEF, around 95 children in the Philippines die from malnutrition daily. Meanwhile, World Bank reported that one in every three Filipino children suffer from stunting due to undernutrition.
Frustrated, Pangilinan shared with Marilyn that this is where the government should come in in ensuring that all Filipinos have access to food to survive.
“Doon mo makikita iyong kahalagahan na makialam ang gobyerno…. Kailangan makialam ang gobyerno para makakain nang maayos ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.
Pangilinan said the surging of food prices could have been averted or at least mitigated if the government has a stimulus package that will support poor Filipinos to still have access to cheap food alternatives.
For her part, San Pedro-Cruz, a vendor here for almost three decades now, hopes that the Filipinos have already learned their lesson and stop electing corrupt and incompetent individuals leading the charge in the government.
“Napakahirap ng buhay ngayon kaya ang panawagan ko lang talaga ay bumoto talaga nang maayos ang mga tao at huwag nilang i-benta ang kanilang boto kahit pa bigyan sila ng pera,” San Pedro-Cruz said.
“Huwag ipagpalit ang magandang kinabukasan ng mga tao sa napakaliit na halaga na kaya nilang bawiin kapg naupo na sila,” she added.
BNK is part of Pangilinan’s campaign caravan where he visits communities of farmers, fisherfolk, and now market vendors to deeply understand the plight of ordinary Filipinos and recommend feasible solutions to these pressing issues once elected.