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Pinoy Child Diver Graduates from College after Becoming Kara David’s Scholar

Ten years ago, Filipino journalist Kara David met a boy whose family goes diving for sea urchins to earn a living. Because they were actually earning so little from the difficult task, Kara took the boy as a scholar under “Project Malasakit” – and he has recently graduated from college!

Back in 2007, Kara met Joselito Padilla in Bolinao, Pangasinan in the Philippines. As one of the child divers, Joselito caught Kara’s eye because of his drive to continue with his studies despite the fact that he and his family had to spend most of their time in the water, diving for sea urchins which they sell for around Php80 to Php100 per sack.

After gathering a sack’s worth of sea urchins, their father Mang Edgar then brings the children to the nearby Silaki Island so they can go to school.

Despite the hardships they face, Joselito and his siblings remained honor students. This touched Kara so much that he was taken in on the “Project Malasakit” program where donors were able to send him to school.

Photo credit: Project Malasakit by Kara David / Facebook

That was 10 years ago. Yesterday, Kara wrote an update on the page to announce that Joselito has graduated from college with the course of BS Marine Transport. She attended his graduation and proudly posts photos to congratulate the young man on his success and to also thank the donors for everything they have done for this young man.

I met Joselito Padilla ten years ago for an Iwitness documentary on child divers in Bolinao, Pangasinan. He was only in 4th grade when we took him in as a scholar for Project Malasakit.

Last week, Joselito graduated from college (BS Marine Transport). Congratulations our dear Joselito. Salamat sa iyongpagsisikap. Salamat din sa lahat ng donors.

What is “Project Malasakit”?

On its Facebook page, Kara David defined “Project Malasakit” as a scholarship foundation bridging the gap between Filipinos who want to help and Filipino children who need to be helped. The scholarship program is personally attended by Kara, ensuring that the money goes to the kids.

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Netizen Exposes Gas Station Scam, Warns Car Owners to Stay Vigilant

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With gas prices rising everywhere, a lot of people are trying to find ways to save money on fuel. Many resort to buying from lesser known companies because these offer cheaper prices than the big time brands.

Sometimes, however, this might mean you are actually getting less fuel for your money because some unscrupulous gas attendants have mastered some clever ways to scam their unsuspecting customers. But the same could happen even in ‘branded’ gas stations.

A netizen who goes by the name Jahaziel Selosa Falla on Facebook shared one of these scams which he was able to uncover himself while getting gas for his vehicle.

According to Jahaziel, he bought gasoline for his vehicle at a gas station in Angono, Rizal when he noticed that the gas attendant did not return the nozzle properly. He took a photo of the nozzle to warn other motorists, particularly car owners of this type of scam.

Jahaziel insisted that he knows the proper way that a nozzle should be returned because he also works in a petroleum company.

Photo credit: Jahaziel Selosa Falla / Facebook

According to him, this is the way that the gas boys can cheat their customers because the number on the machine won’t return to zero; thus, the next customer who buys gas from this pump might see the amount he’s supposed to pay on the machine but didn’t know that he was getting less than what he had paid for.

This scam often targets car owners.

For example, someone (usually a motorbike rider) buys gas for Php100. Because the gas attendant didn’t place the nozzle properly, the reading does not return to Php0. When a car owner buys gas for, say, Php1,000 and was distracted that he didn’t check that the pump reading didn’t start at 00, then this means that he paid Php1,000 but actually just got Php900 worth of gas!

That’s really bad, right? But Jahaziel was quick to add a disclaimer that this could happen to any gas station because it’s not really the company’s fault if there are just bad workers who are not afraid to cheat others of their hard-earned money.

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Palarong Pambansa Athlete Wins Medals, Offers Them on Mom’s Coffin

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Death is inevitable, we all know that; however, it hits you harder when the death of a loved one happens at a time of great rejoicing. For how could you really celebrate that beautiful, fun moment when you are also grieving?

That’s what happened to a young athlete whose mother died while he was winning medals during the Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

On Twitter, user Alex Christian (@xtian197) shared the heartbreaking story of his young cousin, Ronie C. Trinidad, Jr.

Photo credit: Twitter / @xtian197

According to the post, the young boy had just arrived home from the Palarong Pambansa. And while everyone else was celebrating the medals they won, this young boy offered the ones he won on his mom’s coffin.

It turned out that Ronie’s mother died while he was still in Vigan. In a reply to a friend’s question on his Twitter post, user Alex revealed that his aunt had died due to Stage 4 lung cancer. While her cause of death meant Ronie and the rest of the family knew that she might die anytime soon, we’re sure they didn’t also expect it would happen really soon and that Ronie would be away at the time, winning the medals.

While his mother was not able to see the medals he won, Ronie made sure to display them on her coffin in her honor and to make her ‘see’ these medals before she is buried.

Photo credit: Twitter / @xtian197

The heartbreaking story has touched hearts across the country, with the Twitter post garnering close to 30,000 likes and more than 3,350 retweets. Many offered condolences to the bereaved family, especially to this young boy.

We’re hoping that the experience won’t bring him down and make him quit dance sport. We bet his mom would have been very proud of his achievements…

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Enforcers Throw Illegal Vendors’ Goods on the Street, Earn Mixed Reactions

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A photo vendor frantically picking up his goods off a street in Cebu City after enforcers these to the ground has gotten mixed reactions from netizens.

Many of the busy streets in cities and towns across the Philippines have sidewalks that are almost impassable to pedestrians because these are blocked by illegal vendors or illegally parked vehicles. This is especially true in the big cities but is also seen even in small towns whose public markets are often situated right next to the highway.

Government officers tasked to clear the roads and sidewalks often encounter fierce resistance from these illegal vendors and vehicle owners. The vendors often plead for mercy, telling the officers that they are doing ‘nothing wrong’ except sell these goods to earn money for their children.

The cycle is unending. The vendors get caught or are able to run away, stop selling for a day or two, then sell again once the enforcers are busy someplace else.

But the photo of the illegal vendor shared by Cheng Sabellaga Gines has gained mixed reactions from netizens.

Photo credit: Cheng Sabellaga Gines / Facebook

According to Gines, the incident happened at Colon Street in Cebu City. In a post on Facebook, she wrote that while she is not complaining about the clearing operations because the government officers are just doing their jobs, she wishes for them to be more humane in their approach.

Instead of throwing the vendors’ goods to the ground, Gines hopes that they would just tell the vendors to pack up and leave.

Many people sided with Gines, saying that the vendors are also humans who are just trying to earn money for their respective families. Gines and many netizens defended the vendors, saying that they surely know they were doing something illegal but continue selling on the sidewalks to earn something in an honest manner.

But others also took the enforcers’ side, saying that force is definitely needed in such operations because these hard-headed vendors will just come back again and again.

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