Jerry’s Mobile Pigs and Partners is more than about teaching poor farmers to grow their own pigs: it is about teaching them how to get out of poverty.
That cannot be done without teaching them the value of giving and paying it forward, said Winston Tan, representative of Pitong Pinoy 2.0 awardee Jerry Gumpad.
Gumpad, who is based in Saudi Arabia, has to work abroad for his family but Tan said the mobile pigs program was created so that others will not have to work abroad.
“The idea is to lessen the country’s dependence on OFWS,” Tan says.
Tan, who helps the program by assisting in pig distribution and in providing technical knowledge on pig raising to beneficiaries, says the program more than just investing in a pig business.
“We are investing in the person’s character,” he says. Beneficiaries have to promise to take care of female piglets given by the program. When the piglet grows into a sow and gives birth, the beneficiaries are expected to give one female piglet back to the program.
The program collects piglets until the seventh time that the gift sow gives birth, giving Jerry’s Mobile Pigs and Partners more piglets to distribute.
“Jerry always says the program runs on ‘double trust’. You trust that the beneficiary will honor the agreement. You don’t think about whether they will turn the pigs into lechon or pulutan (instead of taking care of them),” Tan says.
Buying a stranger a piglet and trusting him to take care of it is hard enough. Doing it when you are hundreds of miles away is even more so.
But for Jerry’s Mobile Pigs and Partners, that trust seems to have paid off. Tan says they have been able to help hundreds of farmers from Abra, Cagayan, La Union, Pangasinan, Albay, Romblon, and Bohol through the group’s chapters in those provinces.
A roster of members posted on the group’s site shows it is made up of otherwise regular people. Some are seafarers, working mothers, and OFWs who want to come back to the Philippines for good.
This shows that just like Jerry, for whom the program is named, everybody can be a hero in their own way. Whether it is by working overseas to support a family, or by growing pigs that will be given away to help others, Tan says, “maraming hero dito sa Pilipinas.”
No one, even a senator, is above the law.