At nine years old, Mario Aligayda was convicted of robbery and placed inside a cell with twenty-one adult convicts in Bacolod's Handumanan Jail. Water was scarce, the cell was filthy, there were sudden outbreaks of violence, and Mario slept on a hammock slung on the jail bars because there was no room.
Three months later, he was permitted to continue his jail term in Bahay Pag-asa, the PLDT-sponsored juvenile detention center founded by the De La Salle brothers. When he entered, he could neither read nor write.
Mario is one of the 50,000 children jailed since 1995. Today, at fifteen, Mario is a free man, and continues to go to school. He has chosen to stay at Bahay Pag-asa, and now teaches young children. Someday, he says, he will build a house for his father, the man who sits everyday on the city sidewalk repairing shoes. This Friday, February 13, Storyline and PLDT will tell his story on ANC (Skycable Ch. 27).
Storyline is a current affairs show that allows the story to be told by those who lived through it, without the filtering voice of a host. Each of the three narratives is threaded by a single theme. Written and produced by writer and public speaking champion Patricia Evangelista, directed by filmmaker Paolo Villaluna (Selda, Ilusyon), Storyline brings cinema and narrative to the television, with stories of hope, courage, and the heights of the human spirit.
Storyline launches its third season in partnership with the leading telecommunications service provider in the Philippines. PLDT celebrates its 80th anniversary in a campaign about changing lives, highlighting the stories of ordinary people who have gone to great lengths to connect and make a difference.
The stories include Dr. Josette Biyo, first Asian winner of the Intel Excellence Teaching Award in 2002, whose resourcefulness and commitment to education led to an extraordinary honor: a minor planet named after the teacher who dreamed of stars. They also include visually-impaired person Roselle Ambubuyog, who graduated summa cum laude from Ateneo de Manila University, and walking tour guide Carlos Celdran, who is working to change how people see the Philippines one step at a time.
Just recently, PLDT launched Bahay Pag-Asa, in partnership with De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite for young people who have run afoul of the law. In a country of extreme poverty, says PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan, "these children on the fringes of society are those in the greatest need of aid."
Mario Aligayda's story airs on the season premiere of Storyline this Friday, February 13, at 6 pm and 11 pm on ANC (Skycable Ch. 27). Replay on Sunday at 3 pm.