Remember the honest NAIA janitor?

By Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Dec 07 2015 12:35 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2015 03:22 PM

If you are intelligent and rich, there is no problem about getting the education you desire.

If you are poor but intelligent and have good grades, there are opportunities to higher education given by the government and private institutions.

But if you are poor and do not have good grades (there are many factors involved why many children do not do well in school), getting on to higher education would really be a problem.

If your educational record is not impressive, you would have a difficult time getting a good job. If you don’t have a good job, escaping from the cycle of poverty would be hard.

That’s the problem of Ronald Gadayan for his children.

Do you still remember Ronald Gadayan, the janitor at NAIA-2 who returned a pouch left by Cebu-bound Philippine Air Lines passenger Francis Lloyd Chua Ty containing P634,807.96 in cash and jewelry wristwatches and expensive sunglasses valued at P1.8 million?

This happened in September 2012.

Gadayan is a contractual employee at NAIA earning P481.00 a day. He could have kept Ty’s pouch and used the money. (Ty was already in Cebu when he was informed that Gadayan found his bag. He sent his executive assistant to claim it.)

But he said: “Ang turo po ng aking magulang ay wag kunin ang bagay na hindi sa iyo. Lumaki po akong naghihikahos, pero kailan man hindi ko pinag-interesan ang mga bagay na napupulot ko sa trabaho (My parents taught me never to get what is not mine. I grew up poor but I never took any interest in the things I found while at work).”

For such an honest deed, Gadayan was commended and awarded. Ty gave him a cash reward.

Gadayan was held up as a role model for government employees. He was featured on TV and newspapers.

Gadayan is humbled by all the praises heaped on him. He just wishes that all those who promised to help him with the education of his children would make good on their promise.

Gadayan, 39, has three children: Harold, 12 (Grade 6); Hazel Anne, 10 (Grade 5) at Hannah Maria, 6 (Grade 1). His wife, Rosalie, takes care of their children in Bulacan, where they are renting a house. He is renting a room near NAIA to cut travel time and save on transportation expenses.

Gadayan said his children go to a public school which offers free education. What he is worried about is when time comes for them to go to college. There were public officials who promised scholarship to his children. But he has not heard from them anymore.

Gadayan said he approached Education Secretary Armin Luistro and he was told, “hindi qualified and mga anak mo sa scholarship dahil hindi matalino.”

Hurtful Luistro’s reply was,he was just being honest with Gadayan.Scholarship grants, be it in public or private schools, require that the applicant pass an academic exam. To get into the University of the Philippines or any State University where tuition is not as high as in private schools, one has to pass an exam.

Gadayan’s problem for his children is the problem of many young people coming from poor families, who could only afford to go to public schools in the provinces where the quality of education in many areas leaves a lot to be desired. When they move on to higher education and they have to compete with others, the cards are stacked against them.

It has been three years since Gadayan was the flavor of the season. He is still a contractual employee at NAIA earning P481.00 a day. His wife is looking for a job to augment their income Can somebody help?

That would be a wonderful Christmas gift for this honest person.

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Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
E-mail: [email protected]

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.