The Talented Mr Baron
By Mia Apurado, ZSL |
One of the things I love most about my job as Business Operations Manager for Net-Works in the Philippines, is getting to work with talented people from the communities in which Net-Works operates. Edrich Baron, nets manager for Net-Works in Guindacpan, is a perfect example. As well as his job with Net-Works, Edrich runs a sari sari store (small convenience store), works as a seaweed farmer, and is a local Councillor for his village. His hard work and commitment are an inspiration. And it’s not just me who thinks so.
Edrich and his family – his wife Evangeline, daughter Erich (age 11), son Ejie (age 10) and niece Charlita (age 23) – recently took second place in the provincial final of a prestigious national competition called the ‘Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya’ search. It looks for ‘exemplary families’ with strong ethics and values, who contribute to their community and demonstrate resilience and progress in the face of poverty. The families are all are beneficiaries of a government scheme called the 4Ps programme, which provides conditional cash grants to families to help cover the cost of children’s health and education. Edrich’s family have been beneficiaries since 2011.
There are over 4 million active households benefitting from the 4Ps, across the 17 regions of the Philippines, covering 79 provinces, 143 cities, and 1,484 municipalities. To be nominated for the annual search, and then do so well in the provincial final, is a great achievement. It was the first time that a family from Edrich’s district had been selected, so it was a proud moment, both for the family and for the local municipality.
When I asked Edrich about the experience, he said:
“The whole family went to the award ceremony, which was in our capital city, Tagbilaran. We were amazed when we heard we got second place, and so happy! It’s an honour to be held up as role models and to be the first family from our district to achieve this.
The help we receive from the 4Ps programme has made a big difference to our lives. From simple things like being able to buy the children new school shoes each year, to giving them opportunities to do extra curricular activities like joining the local drum and bugle corps. When I see how well my son, daughter and niece are doing it makes me grateful and proud.
Being involved in Net-Works definitely had an impact on the judges decision. They could see the difference I’m helping to make to the community and the environment through organising net recycling, beach clean ups, mangrove planting, and helping families learn to save via the community bank.”
My colleagues and I feel very lucky to have someone like Edrich on our team. Net-Works’ success comes down to the energy and commitment of community members like him who inspire those around them to get involved and change things for the better.