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PNA Foundation: Overcoming poverty in solidarity


Payatas is a Barangay, that is to say a Local Government Unit, of Quezon City in Metro Manila. For many in the Philippines, the name Payatas is a symbol of poverty and squalor.


Payatas has the reputation of being one of the worst places in the Philippines and is infamous for its massive dumpsite, though this has now been closed.


The population of Payatas is hotly disputed but, although according to the last census there are only around 120,000 people living in the Barangay, academic studies suggest that the population might actually be around 500,000 people.


The Puso Ng Ama Foundation (PNA) is a Philippine SEC registered Non-profit foundation that works for personal and social transformation among the poor. PNA is a Catholic organization. However, while Faith-based, PNA seeks to work with, to bring together and to link up those from all spheres of society including the religious, secular, governmental, voluntary and corporate sectors. At the present time PNA focuses mainly on Payatas.


COVID-19 SITUATION BACKGROUND


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic Payatas is now in a state of enhanced community quarantine, that is to say it is under extreme lock-down. There is no public transport, roads into Payatas are closed or guarded with checkpoints. People are only allowed out of their houses if they have a local government “quarantine-pass.”


Only one person per household is allowed such a pass to go out and buy food, medicines and essential items (if they have the money to do that). Most of the people who have jobs cannot go to work and so have no pay. Most have no savings, no sick leave, no health insurance - in short, no safety net. People are hungry.


The local government has not been able to cope with the hundreds of thousands of people needing food. In spite of efforts of many to help, perhaps the vast majority of people are hungry and that is at the moment but the lock-down has now been extended until April 30th at the least.


More and more people are getting more and more hungry. The situation is already extreme and it is getting worse.


PRESENT RESPONSE OF PNA


There are a number or responses that PNA hopes to make but up to now PNA’s response has been mainly providing relief food. Ideally PNA’S relief food should be simply augment the government’s response, that is to say it should give people something in addition to the small amount the government has been able to give them.


However, the government has not been able to cope with the vast number of people. Because of this, PNA’s relief food has usually been the only relief that people have received at the time of PNA delivering it. PNA is coordinating with the Local Government Unit (Barangay Payatas) and the Local Catholic Parish (Ina Ng Lupang Pangako Parish).


PNA communicates with both of them regularly and sends them a list of all those whom receive relief goods from PNA.


At the present time PNA has delivered about 2,500 bags of 4kg rice and about 1,000 food packs with 5-8Kg rice and some other food. Thus PNA has at the present time given relief food to more than 3,500 families.


INTENDED FUTURE RESPONSE OF PNA


PNA hopes to increase the number of families to who it brings relief food to ten thousand. It hopes to give relief food to ten thousand families every week for as long as the lock down lasts. It then hopes to do rehabilitation and envelopment work with as many of these families as possible.


Depending on funding and the amount of food received in kind, PNA intends to to try each week to distribute to ten thousand families either a 4-8 kg bag of rice (with some tins of sardines as long as stocks last) or a slightly more substantial food pack (consisting of 4-8 kg of rice and some other foodstuffs).


PNA is also considering the possibility of giving families rice plus a small amount of money, maybe 40 to 100 Pesos, with which they can buy some food.


Each 4kg bag of rice costs approximately 200 pesos (at present exchange rate). The cost of food packs varies depending on the context but we are cutting down what we put in food packs and so an estimated cost is 350 pesos per pack.


The price per week of providing just rice to ten thousand families is estimated at two million pesos per week.


The price per week of providing a food pack to ten thousand families is estimated at three and a half million pesos per week.


Fr. Paul Uwemedimo, MGL (PNA Chairman)

10 April 2020

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