Of rags and second chances

July 30, 2018

Of rags and second chances

At 81 years old, Catalina Gabutero considers herself quite blessed to still be able to perform regular tasks.

Unlike her contemporaries who are either bedridden or have already passed on, Nay Taling -- as she is fondly called by members of the community in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City -- still has the strength to climb five flights of stairs and the dexterity to work a sewing machine.

“Kining akong kusog, Iya sa Ginoo. Ang akong pag-ampo mao nga molahutay pa unta ko. Ang importante maayo lang gihapon akong mata, kamot, ug tiil aron akong mabuhat akong gusto buhaton,” she said as she finished her second piece of rag in under 10 minutes.

(God has given me these gifts and it is my prayer that He will sustain them. What’s important is for my eyes, hands, and feet to work because these help me do what I love doing.

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Believing that each day is a new lease on life, Nay Taling devotes her time to selling assorted items and sewing rags so she can help provide for her family. With her meager income, she has been able to send some of her 25 grandchildren to school.

“The moment I open my eyes in the morning, that is a second chance right there. God’s love is infinite so we never run out of chances and each chance is an opportunity for me to improve myself, my life, the lives of my loved ones,” she said.

In 2016, Nay Taling was among the 10 local beneficiaries of a livelihood and skills training program on rag production introduced by AboitizPower subsidiary Cebu Private Power Corporation (CPPC) to the community.

Through the program, the women of Ermita were able to get extra income by selling the rags they made to CPPC. However, the project was put on hold months after it was launched.

Even then, Nay Taling continued to make rags despite limited resources as a way to encourage her fellow beneficiaries not to give up.

In a positive turn of events, Nay Taling and the women of Ermita got a boost from the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) when the distribution utility, in partnership with CPPC, launched Project Second Chance last July 25.

To help in the repurposing and reprocessing of its old employee uniforms, Veco decided to upcycle the apparel by donating them to the Ermita tailors who will turn these into rags, floor mats, and other items. The finished products will then be bought back by the distribution utility.

“We thank CPPC for their existing project. This new undertaking not only gives our uniforms a second chance, but also CPPC’s existing livelihood project and the women of Ermita,” said VECO Reputation Enhancement Manager Quennie Bronce.

The idea for Project Second Chance was hatched during one of the meetings of AboitizPower’s corporate communication council in the Visayas called Centro earlier this year. Centro comprises corporate communication representatives of AboitizPower subsidiaries in the Visayas, among which are Veco and CPPC.

Maria Luisa Infore, Vice President for Corporate Services of AboitizPower’s Oil business unit, said she hopes the livelihood project for Ermita will become even more sustainable with the help of Veco.

“With Veco taking the lead, we hope other Aboitiz affiliates will follow suit. Once that happens, we’ll be able to help more women in this community,” she added.

CPPC and Veco, both subsidiaries of AboitizPower, are committed to advancing business and communities. Through initiatives such as the rag production project and Second Chance, Nay Taling and others like her are given an unlimited number of chances to make their lives better.