Two private companies—foodpanda PH and Philippine Seven Corp.—are linking up with the Caloocan City government through its Caloocan Anti-Drug Abuse Office or CADAO, and a local non-profit group called ASCORP today to launch a livelihood program called BuyAnihan Palengke.
BuyAnihan Palengke seeks to provide a source of income to underserved sectors including those who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Representatives of foodpanda PH, a leading online food and goods delivery and quick commerce platform provider, and Philippine Seven, which operates 7-11 24-hour retail stores nationwide, will sign an agreement with officials of Caloocan City, which would serve as a pilot area for the BuyAnihan Palengke program.
BuyAnihan would link up beneficiaries with sources of agricultural produce which they could resell as a source of income.
The project’s target beneficiaries include drug rehab graduates of CADAO and Diocese of Caloocan programs, who are now being cared for by BuyAnihan’s precursor program, Salubong Carrots Atbp, of the city government and diocese.
Caloocan City Rep. Dale Malapitan and lawyer Bok Labastilla, head of CADAO, will sign the memorandum of agreement for BuyAnihan Palengke with Daniel Marogy, foodpanda PH managing director, and Victor Paterno, Philippine Seven CEO.
Also signing the agreement are Dr. Angelita Catedral, of the Asian Society of Community Rehab Practitioners (ASCORP) and a representative from the Caloocan diocese, who are involved in Salubong Carrots, too.
Marogy said one of the objectives of BuyAnihan is to provide a source of income to its beneficiaries including families of foodpanda riders and those who lost their jobs during the pandemic such as former OFWs, out of school youths and solo parents.
Paterno, Philippine Seven CEO, on the other hand added that BuyAnihan intends to pave the way for r formed drug dependents / drug rehab graduates to be productive members of society.
Malapitan vowed to support the BuyAnihan Palengke program, saying foodpanda and Philippine Seven were showing the way forward for other companies.
BuyAnihan’s aim was three-pronged: Provide a source of income for the underserved, provide decent profit margins to farmers and give consumers direct access to fresh farm produce at affordable prices, according to Marogy.
Paterno, said his company welcomed the chance to make a difference in the lives of the poor who were stricken hard by the pandemic.
“Our trucks travel all over the country and it would be an honor for our company to be able to use our logistics chain to help,” Paterno said.
Under the MOA, foodpanda will provide seed capital for beneficiaries to jumpstart their reselling business while 7-11 will use its trucks to pick up fruits and vegetables directly from farms for delivery to BuyAnihan Palengke hubs in Caloocan City and, soon, in other parts of Metro Manila.
BuyAnihan Palengke originated from Salubong ng Carrots Atbp, an aftercare program for reformed drug dependents of the Caloocan City diocese.
ASCORP will implement the program in close coordination with the city government and also manage funds from foodpanda to jumpstart it. It will work closely with CADAO to identify beneficiaries among reformeddrug dependents and train them.
One of the reformed drug dependents being given hope is Meredith Mendoza, 39.
She said she saw BuyAnihan Palengke as a chance to pay back the community that has opened doors for her. She started to use drugs in 1998 which landed her in jail for two weeks in Caloocan. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Nueva Ecija to grow and sell vegetables for seven years. But a series of tragedies, including the deaths of her husband and their first child, led Meredith to depression and ultimately back to using drugs.
Meredith went in and out of broken relationships, rearing children out of wedlock and getting arrested for drug use. A former live-in partner was killed by police while she was in jail, which made her see that drugs would harm not only her but her children, too.
Today, Meredith is completely drug-free and reports to the diocese regularly as part of the Salubong ng Carrots Atbp aftercare program.
She is one of several other drug rehab graduates who will join BuyAnihan Palengke as a community reseller.
Dr. Ponch Villaroman, chief of the rehab center in Bicutan, lauded the initiative. “We need more aftercare programs and livelihood projects like BuyAnihan Palengke because it helps bring back former drug dependents to the folds of society,” he said.