Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) motorcycle unit member and "kakanin" vendor Fernando Gonzales poses for photos at the ABS-CBN headquarters on Monday. Constable Gonzales was commended by the MMDA for finding an honorable way to earn money for his son's education. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - Traffic enforcer Fernando Gonzales earned both praise and criticism after a photo of him selling "kakanin" (rice cakes) on EDSA went viral on Facebook.
The photo showed Gonzales on his motorcycle selling rice cakes to motorists.
Some netizens praised Gonzales for finding a way to earn extra income without resorting to extortion, while others said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) employee was using his uniform to earn extra.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Gonzales said the decision to sell rice cakes really started when he and his wife were down to their last 300 pesos when their eldest son was about to start high school five years ago.
"Kinausap ko po kasi si misis. Ang pera lang namin nun sapat na sapat lang, P300 na lang po. Yun na lang ang huling-huling pera sa aking sweldo. At ang sabi ko, paano ba natin pagkakasyahin yung pera?" he recalled.
"Yung P300 ginawan ni misis ng paraan. Sabi niya, gusto mo gagawa ako ng kakanin pero ikaw ang magtitinda," he added.
Because of their hard work, Gonzales was able to pay for their children's tuition and other needs. Gonzales' older son is now a freshman at the World Citi College studying aircraft maintenance technology.
After his photo went viral, Gonzales also got other blessings such as a food cart business and even a raise.
The MMDA employee, however, said he has to take the civil service exam before he can be promoted.
Traffic enforcer Fernando Gonzales also sells turon. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
WHY HE'S STOPPING, FOR NOW
However, Gonzales admitted he may soon stop selling food on one of the country's busiest thoroughfares .
The traffic enforcer said that, aside from a salary increase, the mayor of Caloocan City has also decided to give him a place where he can sell kakanin away from the traffic and pollution.
"Kasi po sa pagmamagandang loob ng aming butihing mayor, si Mayor Oscar Malapitan, binigyan si misis ng food cart at pwesto sa [University of Caloocan City]. Doon na lang po magtitinda," he told radio DZMM.
He added: "Baka doon ko muna siya tutulungan pansamantala."
Gonzales said they have yet to start selling kakanin at UCC since the area given to them is still being renovated.
"Negative pa. Ginagawa pa yung parking area. Binigyan kami ng authorization within the premises," he said.
Gonzales said he never felt ashamed that he had to sell rice cakes just to augment his income. "Hindi po. Para sa amin naman yun."
He also said he does not mind the reaction of motorists every time he approaches them to sell kakanin.
"Yung iba, pag unang approach naiilang pero pagkatapos bumibili naman," he said.
He said he also has one simple request: that he be allowed to continue selling kakanin until his son finishes college.
"Sana nga po kung papayagan pa kami hanggang makatapos po si Christian," he said.