8-year-old boy collects garbage in exchange for sardines in Cebu

CEBU CITY — John Paul Liray, 8, battles his way to collecting as much garbage as he could in exchange for sardines in sitio Lower Laguerta in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

At his young age and with a seemingly feeble body, he was seen working hard to produce three plastic bags of trash from a dirty creek despite being exhausted and wet from rain and sweat; just so he could bring food to their table.

“These will be our dinner later,” John Paul said in Cebuano.

His mother’s earning from being a supermarket promodiser is not enough to feed them, including his three other siblings.

His father doesn’t have a job, and as revealed by his classmate in Grade 3, have always been drinking and going out.

The DPS program dubbed as “Basura Mo, Sardinas Ko” campaign, gives the residents two cans of sardines for every sack of collected garbage, and another can for a smaller trash bag.

Moreover, Stella Marie Sotto, 38, said that the incentive provided to them is for the residents to clean their surroundings. She reported to have received 10 cans of sardines in exchange of her collected garbage where she had to compete with neighbors because the truck was small enough to get all their trash accommodated.

Meanwhile, DPS staff Jerome Mañego reportedly said that the program’s implementation for one year which started last month with a P4.4 million budget allocation had already purchased 3,508 boxes of sardines (100 cans per box).

Mañego added that about 1,000 cans of sardines in one day were distributed to two pilot areas — Cogon Pardo (in the morning) and Lahug (in the afternoon) for the four to five tons of trash.

“So far, the response has been good. People would tell me that the sitios have become cleaner ever since we started the program. Before, they would just throw garbage anywhere. Now, they are competing against each other to gather more garbage in exchange for more cans of sardines,” the DPS official said as per Inquirer news report.

Here’s a post shared by Cebu Citizen Report  on their Facebook page when the project.