LopezLink presents another beneficiary whose life was impacted by the CSR and philanthropic initiatives of the Lopez Group and the Lopez family.
If Emma Barca-Reanzares did not meet Roberto “Roby” M. Lopez, she would not be where she is now, gainfully employed as a local government social worker. Her husband works as a company driver and they have five children, all studying in a public school in Taguig City.
In the early 1990s, BarcaReanzares, who was a scholar of a charity organization, was suddenly informed that the organization’s scholarship program in their area was ending. Barca-Reanzares was devastated. She was looking forward to receiving the scholarship throughout her elementary years as a stepping stone to pursue higher studies.
“My parents had difficulty providing for our educational needs at that time. My father had an irregular income as a foreman and my mother was a housekeeper and taking care of my younger siblings. The income of my father was only enough for our daily basic needs,” narrates Barca-Reanzares.
Then she met Roberto M. Lopez (he did not want to be called “sir,” remembers BarcaReanzares, and preferred instead to be called “tito” [uncle]). Roby was opening PIA-PAAFI (Philippine International Aid based in San Francisco and founded by Mona Lisa Yuchengco, and Phil-Asia Assistance Foundation Inc.) in Ermita, Manila, which catered to street children, orphans, child abuse victims and other underprivileged children who wanted to finish high school.
PAAFI scholars are provided a monthly allowance, as well as values formation, livelihood training and medical and dental benefits which also extend to their parents.
Barca-Reanzares recalls that Roby told her he would help her finish college and could take up whatever course she wanted. And when she informed him she wanted to be a social worker so she can help others, he was pleased with her choice.
“He was a helpful man and was always joyful. He didn’t want to see any sad child whenever he would visit our drop-in shelter. He would immediately ask why the child was sad or whether he/she was sick or had other needs and he would immediately talk to the staff.
“It was important for him to provide educational opportunities for the children. He was quite optimistic that we would achieve or fulfill all our dreams. He always told us to study well as this was our means to improve our lives and help others as well. But then he passed away,” says Barca-Reanzares.
After Roby’s demise on September 26, 1992, the scholars of PAAFI were worried about their future. But BarcaReanzares believed that their late benefactor would not just leave them, and she was right. PAAFI continued helping her and the others.
Registered social worker
Barca-Reanzares was able to finish college and become a registered social worker. She is now a volunteer coordinator of PAAFI scholars in their community.
“The only advice I can give to PAAFI scholars is to always be grateful and give importance to the opportunities provided to them as this is our weapon against poverty.
“For Tito Roby,” adds Barca-Reanzares, “the word ‘salamat’ is not enough. For all that he has given us, in return, I will continue doing good especially to children in need.
If you want to sponsor a PAAFI scholar, call Fe at 683-0917 loc. 115 or at 0995-5827947.