“Uplifting the life of every Filipino.”
This was what Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wished as he celebrated his 73rd birthday on Wednesday with residents in a poor community in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
Binay said ending poverty for Filipinos has been the guiding principle of his almost three decades in public service.
“Kung gagawa ho ako ng birthday wish, sana ho ay umangat na ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino [If I would make a birthday wish, I hope every Filipino’s life gets better],” he added.
The Vice President shared that his late mother was a teacher in Pasay City, and that he grew up on Libertad Street.
He said the money they received as death benefit when his mother died was used to buy a house.
A few months later, however, that same house burned down.
Binay’s life changed upon the death of his mother and when they lost their house.
Because he was orphaned, he was raised by his uncle in Makati City (Metro Manila) where he led a hard life among poor residents.
He said that whenever he sees people doing odd jobs for a few coins, he would remember himself as a kid and his father.
They used to collect those coins to buy pillows, pillow cases and other personal things.
This “painful experience,” according to the Vice President, led him to vow that when he got appointed as mayor of Makati, his administration would see to it no one in Makati would die because of poverty.
“Hanggang ngayon sinasabi namin, sa Makati hindi dapat mamatay ang isang mahirap dahil sa hindi makabili ng gamot, hindi mapa-ospital. Hindi kahirapan ang dapat maging dahilan kung bakit namamatay ‘yong tao [Up to now, we say, in Makati, nobody should die because he is poor, because he cannot buy medicine, he cannot afford hospital expenses. Poverty should not be the reason for the death of a person],” Binay said.
He also wished that Filipinos would be able to rise above poverty and create a better life for themselves.