ROSARIO, Cavite: Maria Palero may look just like any other employee doing her job at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Pandawan here.
But to her co-employees, the 56-year-old mother of seven serves as an inspiration of what diligence and hard work can do, especially when they learn that the MRF officer-in-charge started out as a scavenger and worked her way up the ladder.
For Palero, a native of Camarines Norte, life was not always a bed of roses. She was forced to care for her three kids when her first husband died.
Her second marriage didn’t last long either. Again, Palero’s husband passed away, leaving her with four more children.
Palero tried to find ways to support her children until one day, she decided to become a scavenger. Since 2007, her family lived on reheated leftovers from fastfood chains. Unfortunately, that made one of her kids sick.
But Palero never lost hope. To her, that was simply another challenge. Together with her other kids, she collected all sorts of garbage – bottles, newspapers, plastics, and cans – and sold these to junk shops.
With her little earnings and faith in God, Palero managed to send all of her children to high school.
Palero’s life changed when she met Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente, who hired her as a checker and timekeeper at Rosario City Hall.
Soon Palero’s hard work paid off. She was promoted as officer-in-charge of MRF—a dumpsite located at Pandawan. You could say that her present job fits her well, considering her humble beginnings as a scavenger.
Today, Palero is a happy mom whose story continues to inspire mothers around her.
She no longer collects garbage. She has an office, a monthly salary and food for her family.
But when she looks out the window in her office, the model mom can’t help but recall her past and she still thanks God for her many blessings.