Unbelievable but a barangay in Rizal lived with no lights until Energizer and One Million Lights Philippines brought hope last week using solar-powered lanterns. It was the initiative of a 16 year old Mark Lozano who gathered his friends in high school last year to crusade bringing light to the lifeless Brgy. Puray, Rizal. Composed of most residents belonging to the Dumagat Aeta tribe, Brgy. Puray is one of the poorest community who have lived all these years in the outskirts of Rizal with no electricity. I broke in tears listening to Mark's mom who shared the story of how the whole project became a reality.
One Million Lights Philippines was granted finally through the efforts of Mark Lozano and his close friends in high school who saw the dire need of the community to have lights without using electricity. Congruent to the campaign of Energizer, "Spreading Positivenergy", One Million Lights Philippines gathered volunteers to look for resources and donations from other countries.
Barangay Puray is quite inaccessible isolated by the Mascap Mountain Range and a network of rivers, with dirt roads and hazardous areas. The hazards of living in the area limited the residents to insufficient job opportunites and resources leaving them a meager P10-20 a day income. Using kerosene lamps, candles, firewood and makeshift gas lamps, it isn't a wonder why so many women were pregnant or with newly-born child attending the event last week. Energizer and OML who distributed a total of 280 solar-powered lights should give hope to making studying, working and living in Brgy. Puray Rizal easier and more convenient.
What's more important was their continued support to the community giving away shoes, food and other products to help each resident live a better life. They have clustered the residents in groups and trained them on taking care of their own solar-powered lights.
The genuine smile and appreciation in the faces of Brgy. Puray residents gave me more inspiration to believe anyone can really move mountains to help our fellow Filipinos at-risk. Where the angels fear to thread, Mark Lozano gave his heart and gathered all volunteers of One Million Lights to make the impossible possible with Energizer and "Spreading Positivenergy". Solar-powered lights will raise more awareness to all for the need to have a safe, renewable and affordable lighting systems to benefit poor Filipinos forward. It was a very unforgettable experience witnessing the residents awe at the opportunity and hope for a better life.
This life-changing event brought by Energizer's solar-powered lights was the global campaign with Philippines being one of the four country-recipients along with Argentina, Kenya and Ethiopia. Brgy. Puray received earlier 100 solar-powered lights as part of the campaign done by Energizer and OML donating 11 million hours of solar light and have pledged to donate 12 million more hours of light this year to help rural families work, study and play a little longer each day.
Did you know? In the Philippines, around 15 million Filipinos living in more than 2,270 barangays nationwide have no access to electricity. Since the launch of the local leg of the campaign, Energizer and OML Philippines have already distributed solar-powered lights to the rural towns of Oriental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Eastern Samar, Kalinga Apayao, Ifugao and Mountain Province giving hope to nearly 15,000 poor Pinoys.
Hats off also to the members of the Business Administration Student Council of UP Diliman and Energizer who distributed Schick razors, flashlights and batteries to barangay officials the same day. I hope the other companies will help save the lives of Barangay Puray, Rizal because they are after all, our fellow countrymen descendants of Dumagat tribe we all came from in one way or another.
Who said you cannot change the world at your age? If a 16 year-old was able to get the attention of the world to help our country, imagine what we can all do together to ease poverty in this country. Take action and we can all Spread Positivenergy now.