Amid sensational stories that often hog media headlines, it is always reaffirming to know about Filipinos who go the extra mile to champion the welfare of others. Aiming to honor the noteworthy contribution of Filipinos whose passion and commitment go beyond the call of duty, Mang Inasal therefore conceived the yearly Gawad PiliPinoy.
Now on its fourth year, the Gawad PiliPinoy is an annual recognition given by Mang Inasal to selfless, local modern-day heroes who use their skills and competence to push advocacies that create a positive impact on communities.
“The Gawad PiliPinoy was actually inspired by the Chicken Inasal, the top-selling branded grilled chicken of Mang Inasal, that has been known for its 2-in-1 sa Laki, Nuot sa Ihaw Sarap. Gawad PiliPinoy awardees are Filipinos who passionately pursue advocacies on top of their respective day jobs or careers, and whose genuine concern for others have driven them to go out of their way to create meaningful impact on the lives of their fellowmen,” explained Mang Inasal Marketing Head Aileen Natividad.
For 2019, in ceremonies held recently at the Blue Leaf Events Pavilion, Mang Inasal awarded the Gawad PiliPinoy to Iloisa Romaraog-Diga, Sales and Marketing Head and Co-founder of the e-commerce site, Session Groceries.
Session Groceries is an online store in Baguio City which Diga helped form in 2016 after years of working as a financial analyst. In 2018, after being made aware of the plight of Benguet farmers who were forced to dispose their vegetable harvests due to oversupply, Diga decided to offer Session Groceries’ online platform to link the farmers to potential customers.
The partnership proved effective and has since been helping Benguet farmers command better price for their produce. As of this writing, Session Groceries has assisted 25 individual farmers
“Our goal is to help farmers earn more. Pinaghihirapan kasi nila (ang kanilang mga pananim), tapos para mabulok at itapon lang nila ang mga ito – nakapanghihinayang! (Farmers toil hard to produce these crops. So it saddens us to see their farm produce rotting because they could not be sold right away!),”said Diga.
“Ang Session Groceries ay paraan para mabigyan ng mas mabuting kaugnayan ang farmers at mga consumers. (Session Groceries provides a more effective distribution link between farmers and consumers.) We want to provide a platform where everyone can have a win-win situation: better revenues for farmers and fresh produce for consumers,” explained Diga.
For Iloisa, there’s still a long way to go, but as long as there’s a platform, strategy, and people who share the same advocacy, everyone can work together in bringing dignity back to the hearts of Filipino farmers.