The Olympics flame in Tokyo may have stopped burning but in a humble neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila, a basketball coach’s hopes continue to glow.
Renan Lobo used to make a living out of teaching basketball. Aside from being a source of income, it was his way of passing on his love for basketball to aspiring athletes.
Unfortunately, like many athletes and sports enthusiasts, Lobo had to leave the basketball court due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And across the archipelago, basketball courts, fitness centers, and sports venues turned into ghost towns.
Despite his dilemma, Lobo kept his faith. The small altar in his family’s living room would always remind him to fight the good fight amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“Sa mga katulad ko, ‘wag po tayong mawawalang ng pag-asa. Magtiwala lang po tayo sa Diyos,” he said.
(To those like me, let us not lose hope. Let’s continue to trust God.)
Lobo was eventually selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, a financial assistance initiative launched by former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Inspired by the vision of Cayetano’s 10K Ayuda Bill, the program aims to provide cash aid to the poorest of the poor.
On Thursday, August 12, a total of 63 beneficiaries received P10,000 each. Thirty (30) of them were from Makati, Taguig, Pateros, and Quezon City while 33 were from online commenters on Cayetano’s Facebook page.
As of August 12, the program’s total number of beneficiaries had reached 8,178.
“So, ito po na pumasok ang ECQ, hindi po ako nag-alala dahil alam ko po na napakalaking tulong po sa’min ng 10k ayuda para sa magulang ko and sa anak ng pamangkin ko,” Lobo said.
(So, when Metro Manila was placed under ECQ again, I wasn’t worried because this P10,000 cash aid will get our family through.)
Aside from paying for his parent’s medical expenses, Lobo hopes to use a part of the cash aid to launch a sports equipment business.
“Makakatapos din po tayo sa pandemya na ito. Lahat po ng problema ay may solusyon,” he said.
(This pandemic will eventually end. All problems have solutions.)
For his part, Cayetano, who served as chair of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) in 2019, highlighted the sacrifice and passion of the country’s athletes and encouraged the public to imbibe the spirit of bayanihan.
“Tayo po, ineencourage natin ang lahat na tumulong at makipag-bayanihan,” he said.
(Let’s encourage everyone to lend others a helping hand and practice bayanihan.)
Watch Renan Lobo’s video: