He promised his parents he would do anything to help them. They never imagined this.
Like most ordinary Filipino family severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, 19-year-old Peter Roncales felt he needed to do something – especially after losing his job. Not only is his family starving; hardly eating three times a day, but they might soon be evicted from their home in Laguna.
Peter is the sixth in a brood of seven. Three of his siblings have families of their own, and couldn’t help financially. His father Marciano, 62, is a taho (soy bean curd) vendor while his mom, Liza, 60, works as a laundry woman. Since the lockdown, his father could not go out due to the restrictions. They intended to return to their hometown in Oras and permanently stay there, but they never got the chance.
On September 12, he decided to leave home without informing his parents about his plan. Since there are no means of public transportation, he would bike all the way to Eastern Samar to seek help, so he could bring his family there.
He has a bike he bought for 4,500, which he acquired after helping a couple whose vehicle broke down in San Pedro.
The young man only has a bag and 150 pesos in his pocket, which he used to buy water and junk food.
His 10-day journey was hard and perilous. he had a flat tire for seven times and even got sideswiped by a motorcycle along the way. Moreover, he lost consciousness at least twice from thirst, hunger, and exhaustion.
He tried knocking on people’s doors along the way when his provisions ran out but sadly, many refused to help. Some hooligans also attempted to take his bike; they only left him after he tearfully begged.
Fortunately still, at least 15 good people offered him food and drinks. One soldier was also kind enough to get him a ferry ride from Matnog town, Sorsogon to Samar Island.
The young man rested as he waited for personnel from the Municipality of Oras to fetch him, CNN Philippines reported.
Peter didn’t have the required travel documents and had not coordinated with the local government. But the authorities were more concerned about his condition.
Andi Ballete of the local task force overseeing the local response to COVID-19 said, “He was so disoriented when we interviewed him. He was very tired when we brought him to our quarantine facility.”
The authorities took Peter to Oras National High School for a 14-day quarantine. He will be permitted to see his 85-year-old grandmother, Marciana thereafter.
In a telephone interview with the Inquirer, Peter said:
“I hope those in authority will help my family go home to Eastern Samar, and I wish that they will help us land any job.”
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