Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Help pours in for bullied MMDA traffic enforcer


After the praises, aid also keeps pouring in for the traffic enforcer who kept his cool when bullied by a motorist recently.

Saturnino Fabros, a widower and father of six, saw his house in a depressed Quezon City community getting a surprise makeover on Tuesday courtesy of his peers and superiors in the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, which is also backing the criminal complaint he had filed against his attacker.

Crudely built with still unfinished walls and rusty roofing near the Payatas dumpsite, Fabros’ home suddenly got a new door, new beds, a new toilet bowl, metal windows, floor tiles and some appliances.

An MMDA-sent team of carpenters helped him install these items starting Tuesday.

“Hindi ko po akalain na may darating pa (I didn’t expect that something like this was still coming),”  said Fabros, 47, who rose to national fame thanks to a viral video that purportedly showed how he was bullied on Aug. 11 by Robert Blair Carabuena, a Philip Morris human resource manager.

The 27-second clip spread on social networking sites last week, drawing public outrage and even a reaction from Malacañang.

It showed Carabuena, standing next to his brother Robert Benjamin, berating and slapping the MMDA traffic enforcer who was then manning the intersection of Capitol Hills Drive and Tandang Sora Street in Quezon City.

Fabros kept his cool and did not fight back. Later, he said he thought against retaliating for fear that Carabuena had a gun inside his Volvo car.

Fabros, also known as Sonny, lost his wife to pneumonia two years ago. He now raises six daughters.

MMDA officials earlier passed the hat to raise funds for his house’s renovation, starting with the repair of the leaking roof.

LOOK OF DISBELIEF The sudden arrival of gifts from people impressed with his professional conduct in the face of abuse caught Fabros and his children by surprise on Tuesday. PHOTOS BY MARIANNE BERMUDEZ
“This came from the contributions of some MMDA officials in recognition of (Fabros’) character. (The makeover) is a token of our collective appreciation. We hope we can still do more,” MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said in a text message.

About a dozen MMDA workers carrying building tools and materials arrived at Fabros’ house and caught him and his children by surprise on Tuesday morning.

Fabros said he and the children couldn’t help but shed tears of happiness as the visitors went to work. “Naiiyak po kami sa tuwa,” he said.

When seen by the Inquirer last week, the house was practically bare. It had no appliances save for a karaoke machine that needed repairs. The family mainly complained of a leaky roof and windows that were merely covered with sheets of plastic.

The family only had a small bed, that’s why the children had become used to sleeping on the floor.

Those days—and nights—are apparently over: The MMDA men brought in two double-deck beds.  “Nobody has to sleep on the floor now,” said Winston Besa, head of the agency’s general services division.

Besa said his team would also paint the walls and install a ceiling.

“Many of us who saw the incident on TV and the news about it were inspired by this man. He is a widower raising six kids. He needed our help,” he added.

Yves Gonzalez, MMDA’s director of the traffic discipline office, said many people who sympathized with Fabros were also eager to help.

One of them sent a message via Facebook pledging a second-hand TV set for the family, Gonzalez said.

“This was after she learned in the news that Fabros and his kids don’t even have a TV set in the house,” he said.

Fabros said other Good Samaritans had also given him a dish rack and a cabinet for their clothes.

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