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Of rags and second chances

 Victor Silva | July 30, 2018

AboitizPower subsidiaries Visayan Electric Company (Veco) and Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC) join forces to help the women of Ermita in Cebu City through Project Second Chance.

At 81 years old, Catalina Gabutero considers herself quite blessed to still be able to perform regular tasks. Unlike her contemporaries, Nay Taling — as she is fondly called by her community of Brgy. Ermita, Cebu City — has no problem climbing five flights of stairs and working 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 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 that my eyes, hands, and feet are good so I can do what I love doing.)

Believing that each day is a new lease on life, Nay Taling devotes her time to selling assorted items and sewing rags, the income from which has enabled her to send grandchildren to school and provide other family needs.

In 2016, Nay Taling was among the 10 local beneficiaries of a livelihood and skills training program for rags sewing introduced by Cebu Private Power Corporation (CPPC) to the community. The program helped the women of Ermita make extra income by selling the rags they made to CPPC but, unfortunately, the program was put on hold months after it was begun.

Nay Taling did not lose her spirit and instead continued to make rags, despite having limited resources. She also made it her goal to encourage fellow beneficiaries not to give up.

Thankfully, they all got a much-needed boost with Project Second Chance, which was first conceptualized during a meeting by AboitizPower’s Visayas corporate communication council called Centro held early this year. Launched last July 25, the project is a partnership between Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and CPPC, that brings new life to the latter’s stalled livelihood program.

COLLABORATION. Representatives of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco), Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC), and AboitizPower's Oil business unit introduce Project Second Chance to the women tailors of Barangay Ermita in Cebu City.
EACH DAY WITH PURPOSE. Representatives of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO), Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC), and AboitizPower’s Oil BU launch Project Second Chance for the women tailors of Brgy. Ermita in Cebu City.

Wanting to repurpose old employee uniforms, VECO found the solution in donating them to the Ermita women tailors to be upcycled into rags, floor mats, and other items. The company will then buy back the finished product from Nay Taling and the group.

“We thank CPPC for their existing project that not only gives our uniforms a second chance but also provides livelihood to the women of Ermita,” said VECO Reputation Enhancement Manager Quennie Bronce.

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.

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

Initiatives like Project Second Chance hold much promise for the bold and brave like Nay Taling, women who are torchbearers of their families. CPPC and VECO will continue unlocking opportunities to give them the chances they deserve, all towards advancing business and communities.

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.

–Catalina Gabutero