JALANIE Saripada, a young grade 5 honor student from Lupon, Davao Oriental, captured the heart 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. This particular instance caught the attention of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, 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 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.
“Salamat sa ‘yo, Senator Bong Go. Unang una, gusto kong magpasalamat kay Allah, dahil kinalabit niya ang puso mo na tumulong sa amin at iyong napansin at nasilip,” Imelda expressed her gratitude, acknowledging the immediate relief and hope brought to their family.
“Naniniwala ako na marami ka pang matutulungan maliban kay Jalanie,” she added.
Jalanie also expressed his thanks, “Senator Bong Go, maraming salamat sa tulong mo. Ito pong cellphone na ibinigay ninyo, malaking tulong po ito sa aking pag-aaral. Mag-aaral po ako ng mabuti para makapagtapos.”
The principal of Jalanie’s school also expressed hope for further support: “As principal, hinihikayat ko si Jalanie na makapagtapos. Senator Bong Go, sana po ay mabigyan siya ng scholarship. Ang pamilya niya ay nangangailangan talaga ng tulong.”
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.
Go further highlighted the role of compassionate governance in uplifting the lives of the less fortunate.
“Bilang senador, ang papel ko po ay hindi lang ang gumawa ng batas. Kasama din dito ang pag-abot ng tulong sa mga nangangailangan sa abot ng aking makakaya,” he expressed.
“Sa pagtutulungan ng bawat isa, kaya nating baguhin ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan. Ang bawat tulong, malaki man o maliit, ay may malaking epekto sa kinabukasan ng ating bayan,” he concluded.
The senator has been active in promoting youth welfare. He co-authored Republic Act 11510, which institutionalized the Alternative Learning System (ALS) and improved basic education delivery to underserved and disadvantaged students. This includes indigenous students, those with less privileged backgrounds, and those with physical and learning disabilities.
He also co-authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1360, which seeks to expand the coverage of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) by amending RA 10931, or the Universal Access To Quality Tertiary Education Act if enacted into law.
Moreover, Go stated that education is not just about academics but about creating a holistic environment where students can thrive mentally, emotionally, and physically. This is why he has co-authored and co-sponsored SBN 2200, known as the proposed Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act.
This bill aims to provide comprehensive mental health support for the youth in the country’s basic education system, mandating both private and public schools to integrate mental health education and support services into their curriculum.
Furthermore, Go has also been pushing for the passage of his proposed SBN 1786, which seeks to mandate public higher education institutions to establish Mental Health Offices on their campuses. This aligns with his belief that mental health should receive the same level of attention and care as physical health.
Previously, Go also voiced his apprehension about the ongoing prevalence of malnutrition in the country, which continues to impact millions of children, impeding both their physical development and cognitive potential.
The senator underscored the necessity for immediate action and a united approach to address malnutrition in a more holistic manner, citing that the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2017-2022 is an essential part of the government’s efforts to address this issue.