UP professor is “Pink Santa” this Christmas
A few weeks ago, Pink Santa began sending pink loot bags with treats to school and store employees.
Jackeilyn Jamarolin, who works at the human resources office of Showcase Carpet Center & Co., said that the treats made her 3-year-old son Gizrod, very happy. She and her colleagues didn’t know where the loot bags came from but since they were pink, they immediately assumed that these were from a supporter of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Sabi nga po ng ibang ka-officemate namin, ‘We think this is [on behalf] of Ma’am Leni Robredo’,” said Jamarolin, who also wants Robredo to be the next President because of her excellent track record.
The treats were from Benjie Sandoval, a strategy professor teaching Marketing, Philippine Business Environment and Basic Management at the University of the Philippines Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business (UP VSB).
“I’ve never been a political supporter of anyone, but VP Leni, she inspires me, and I believe in her,” Sandoval said.
What prompted Sandoval to reach into his pocket and be a Pink Santa this holiday season was an article that said Robredo’s presidential bid was supposedly a lost cause because “people don’t want to help her, people with money.”
And so, Sandoval decided he would help Robredo in his own way.
Sandoval initially planned on giving away 100 loot bags with treats that include ramen, chocolates, snacks, ceramic items, and leather tags, to employees who he felt bore the brunt of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of their political color.
But having gotten support from his personal network, he has now sent over 400 bags to employees of schools, such as the Lucban Academy and ALRES Philippines, and companies, including Showcase Carpet Center & Co.
Stories of volunteerism have come aplenty from Robredo’s supporters from all over the country. It’s a movement inspired by Robredo herself. Before she entered politics in 2013, Robredo devoted herself to helping the marginalized sectors as a volunteer lawyer in Naga, Camarines Sur, her hometown.
Sandoval has also helped jeepney drivers in UP, who lost their livelihood when Metro Manila was placed under an enhanced community quarantine at the start of the lockdowns last year. He also sent “ayuda” in the form of loot bags with snacks to his former students “just to reach out and make people happy.”
Sandoval said with his students and others who have come on board with the Christmas project, they are now planning on giving a thousand loot bags come Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and Easter Sunday, leading to the 2022 national elections.
Sandoval emphasized that the effort doesn’t have to be expensive, as people have come up to him wanting to do the same, but with no financial resources to spare.
“You just really have to start small. Match it with your talents, skills and resources, and you do it. Kasi if you don’t do it now, what you think is right, when will you do it?” Sandoval said.
Robredo had earlier described her campaign as no longer traditional or conventional, but one that’s turning out to be a “People’s Campaign”, a movement, which she hopes to turn into a crusade.
“We are very inspired by the kind of movement that is unfolding before our eyes. Bukas pa rin ang mata natin sa reality na this is going to be a very difficult fight. We will be up against very big political names who have banded together. Pero sa akin kasi, ‘yung nakikita ko sa inyo, na totoo wala tayong resources nila, totoo they have the machinery, totoo that they have the political firepower, pero tingin ko all this, walang sinabi sa desisyon ng ordinaryong Pilipino,” Robredo has said in a message to the Robredo People’s Council in Baguio City on December 6.