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TYBOX: There’s Maharlika, Confidential and then there’s Tambay-yayong 

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 October) – Pinoys are the world’s top Facebook users. It is a portal to veer one’s mind away from news of sex, scandals and political antics, and into endless reels of, well, sex (of the hip-swaying kind), scandals (of kabits exposed and fighting) and antics from ‘digital creators’ often loaded with innuendos. 

But once in a while, we get meaningful content on social media. There’s one Davao vlogger who has posted skits taking on the administration’s fascination with funds.

Sarge Steps and Styles, a video blog by the original Boy Isog Sarge Roweno, has run a storyline in the past months where he makes a scheme of pooling meager cash from fellow tambays to help fellow tambays.

His character is an out of work soldier, who survives with gigs, or styles and steppings as he calls it, such as betting on sabong and sports, which typifies the character of some urban poor people who resort to this vice for a quick fix.

But as the public was caught up with the news around June of the Maharlika Investment Funds, purportedly to raise money for meaningful investment, and which was scrutinized in Congress, Sarge also comes up with a parallel effort.

In his skits, Sarge decides that rather than helping himself alone, he needs to help fellow tambays.

He tells his partner, the strong jealous Inday, that he pities fellow tambays who are in need of money. Where would they turn to when they get sick?

He thus set up a fund, and with the pooled collection, the poor can have money to run to for emergencies.

He even coined a catchy name for his endeavor: TAMBAYayong Funds.

In a later episode, the characters run into an incident that needed them to shell out money. But there are comic results.

The essence of this skit shows that despite a person’s need to survive by herself or himself, there is still a spirit of community. 

Communities survived through the pandemic lockdowns, inflationary prices, and sometimes threats of demolition and fires by checking each other and taking part in community pantries. There is pakisama and malasakit.

I don’t know if this sense of community  can be pinned on the government’s drive to shore up money for Maharlika Funds, or how they justify Confidential Funds.

These are funds that are sourced from the people’s hard earned pay and savings. Even tambays contribute through VAT in buying goods. We deserve to know where our money will be spent. Already the economy is hard and people are trying to survive. Then to hear news of unfinished projects and unfulfilled promises, damaged roads that were newly built, or an office spending P125 million in 11 or 19 days, this can drive you to rant on FB what world record spending or wasting (or steppings and styles) has happened.

Sarge reminds his friends, who do we turn to when we are in trouble? We tambays alone can only help our fellow tambays. Let’s learn from that style.

But when asked where tambays, the unemployed, find money, Sarge knows the many resources and options they can choose. But he can only reply, it’s confidential.

With that, there’s a community spirit thriving on social media where the common tao can voice their frustration and yearnings.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Tyrone A. Velez is a freelance journalist and writer.)

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