War Survivor Finds Renewed Hope from Coca-Cola Agos Program
Back in the days, as bombs were being dropped across Pili, Camarines Sur, many people fled to different areas to save themselves and their families. Some were able to find shelter in the fields, while others decided to go to the mountains to settle down. Though finding a safe place was a priority, many had realized that there was a far greater problem to solve and that is getting clean water.
Among the communities that embraced the families who escaped the horrors of the bombings is Barangay Del Pilar. Today, it has become a haven for many people. In fact, as of 2014, there is about 75 households and a population of 384.
Cenederio Lopez, now at age 74, is among the residents of Barangay Del Pilar. He lives alone but most of his life, he never imagined that water would someday become easily available for him and other residents.
Lolo Cenederio said, “It was really a sacrifice just to fetch water”. He even recalls the dilemma of running out of water, as he, his father, and older brothers have to get up early, usually before the crack of dawn to fetch water with their containers while riding on their carabao.
But as he reached old age, getting water has become very tough, as he could no longer hike the way he did when he was younger. What he normally does today is to buy a water container from his neighbors and walk an hour, approximately 9 kilometers to the city proper and a 5 kilometer hike on the road, to fill it up with water while carrying the container on his shoulder or there would be no water at all.
But finally, after years of depending on distant water sources, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines along with Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, paved the way in providing sustainable water access to the community. Through Agos, the residents of Barangay Del Pilar now have natural springs on higher grounds down to a reservoir.
Lolo Cenederio also mentioned “I am extremely thankful to God, our barangay captain, and Coca-Cola Foundation for producing projects like this. Without them, we would not have water to drink”. He also mentioned that instead of paying P20.00 for the container, he now only needs P2.00 and that he doesn’t have to hike to get water.
Coca-Cola’s project may seem like a simple relocation to others but for some, it is a symbol of hope, love, and happiness.