Elephants and inspiration
“When elephants dance it is the grass that suffers” is an African saying that means when important people fight, it’s the “little” people who get caught in the tussle and suffer the consequences.
Readers may still remember the cases filed by the government against real estate developer Delfin Lee and his company Globe Asiatique. The government-run Pag-Ibig Fund, founded to provide credit for its members who want to build their own homes, accused Lee of using the names of fake Pag-Ibig members or issuing multiple titles to single home lots to fund its developments, among them Xevera Homes and Townhouses in Mabalacat and Bacolor in Pampanga.
But caught between the housing agencies and Lee are the “real victims of the housing controversy”—homeowners, numbering about 10,000, who bought lots in Lee’s developments in good faith but are now caught in legal limbo. While Lee has been held in custody and continues to fight his legal battles, the status of the homeowners, some of whom have not paid their monthly amortization due to uncertainty about their legal standing, remains up in the air.
In a letter addressed to Pag-Ibig Fund president and CEO Darlene Berberabe and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chair Chito Cruz, Rolando Santos, president of the Homeowners Association of Xevera Townhouses, bewailed the uncertainty of their status and requested a quick resolution of their four-year-old predicament.
“Pag-Ibig Fund claims to be the victim of fraud allegedly perpetrated by one of its housing developers,” the homeowners said in their letter. “On the other hand, Delfin Lee and his development company Globe Asiatique claim to be victims of political persecution. But while this matter languishes in court, the real victims of your acts and that of your agency continue to suffer.”
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As buyers in good faith and borrowers from Pag-Ibig in good faith, Santos said in behalf of the homeowners, the balance of payments that he and the other residents in the two subdivisions owe to Pag-Ibig should be accepted by the Home Development Mutual Fund (the other name of Pag-Ibig).
“Bakit po kami ang naiipit? Nakarating na po tayo sa Korte Suprema. Kailan po ba matatapos ang kalbaryo namin (Why are we the ones caught in this trap? The case has reached the Supreme Court. When will our calvary be finished)?” they asked.
Since some buyers are reportedly hesitant to continue with their payment installments because of uncertainty, the residents are appealing to the government to assure them that their right to acquire the housing units they paid for will be protected.
“We worked hard to contribute to Pag-Ibig,” the homeowners said. “The Fund is our money, the people’s money, the members’ money. It is not the government’s money. If only to afford decent housing, we are made to borrow our own money and pay interest on it. We have no choice, because this is the system foisted on us. But we accept the system if only to press on with our right to decent shelter.”
“At least he (Lee) can get his day in court, his chance to prove his innocence,” they said. “But what about us? How and to whom do we prove that we are the real victims here? Do we also get our day in court?”
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Where does one find inspiration? For 100 or so storytellers, it comes from both the mundane and the miraculous, the sudden flash of light, or the well-earned reward after years of struggle.
In the recently-launched book “Beyond All Barriers,” we can read 100 inspiring stories compiled by Flor Gozon Tarriela and Butch G. Jimenez and edited by Domini M. Torrevillas, that speak of surprising encounters with grace and challenges met head-on and conquered.
One of these challenges is told by no less than Alden Richards—Richard Reyes Faulkerson in his life away from the cameras—who tells of his mother’s desire to see her son become an actor in his entry, “A Mother’s Wish.”
He was shy as a child, writes Richards, and he knew that “the odds for anyone making it in show business have always been a million to one.” But, he adds, “my mother thought otherwise, she always believed that I could do anything.”
After his mother’s death from cancer when he was 16, Richards says he decided to pursue a show biz career partly to honor his mother’s memory, to remember “a love that was steady, fierce, protective and unconditional.”
But he also wanted to help out his family, to not be a burden to his father and siblings and instead use his mother’s faith in his abilities to help them meet their goals in life.
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Despite many fits and starts, and the accumulation of roles and appearances, Richards’ career inevitably started waning, he writes, such that it “reached a plateau” in early 2015.
The rest is pop history by now. But before his entry into “Eat Bulaga” and the birth of the still-phenomenal “AlDub” love team, Richards writes that he believes it was his decision to “surrender myself to God” that he was finally able to “achieve something which was beyond my wildest dreams.” No wonder he cries whenever he sings their love team’s theme song!
There are many other such inspiring stories in this little book—of a nanny in Singapore who eventually makes it as head of her own firm in Canada; of a government official who pays the price for implementing difficult but necessary policies but finds a “new life” as an international civil servant—that provides inspiration to all despairing of the present and future, unable to see beyond the horizon, but with grace and faith will be able to cross into the future they deserve!
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