July 18, 2024

Proving that honesty still exists despite hard times brought by this pandemic, a farmer from Tublay, Benguet has returned a bag containing P133,800.75 cash to its rightful owner.
Mando Alonzo and his nephew were passing by Sitio Sayatan, Baayan Road on their way home on Dec. 24 when they saw a sling bag along the road. He decided to stop to let his nephew check the bag. They discovered it contained a huge amount of cash and some ID cards.
According to the police report, Alonzo contacted the bag’s owner and they agreed to meet at the Tublay Municipal Police Station for the turnover of the lost items.
All’s well that ends well when the finder and the owner, Roger Santiago, of Poblacion, Bauko, Mountain Province, finally met at the police station.
But the story gets deeper when this writer called Alonzo for an interview.
At the time Alonzo and his nephew found the bag, his wife was just out of the hospital recovering from a gallbladder surgery. 
“Idi damo kasla masulisogak ta nagado ti utang mi. Ada pay saan mi nga nabayadan diay ospital (At first I was really tempted because we have huge debts to pay. We still have an unpaid bill at the hospital),” Alonzo said.
Upon arriving home, he told his wife about the bag and they discussed the matter.
“Ngem napanunot mi ni Apo Diyos ken ada konsensiya nga inted na ken panpanunuten mi diay nakatinnag ti kwarta ta kaasi met lang (But we thought of God and the owner who lost the item, and that God has given us conscience to do the right thing),” he said.
The next day, Alonzo called the cellphone number in the license ID they found and he was able to contact the owner. With his wife Judith, they proceeded to the police station.   
Lack of money is not a reason for them not to return the money they found, according to Alonzo.
Senior Master Sergeant Ben-at Rovillo of Tublay MPS said the owner, Santiago, was delivering dry goods at a cooperative around the area where the bag was found.
Santiago parked along the road to check on something on his vehicle. He said when he opened the driver seat, he did not notice that the bag slipped off the car onto the roadside.
Rovillo recognized the honesty and effort of Alonzo who chose to return the lost items.
As an appreciation to the Alonzo couple, Tublay MPS Chief of Police, Lt. Sharon Dulagan, said Alonzo and his nephew would be given a certificate of appreciation during the next flag raising ceremony in coordination with the Mayor’s Office.
It indeed was a great show of integrity as Alonzo said he chose to do the right thing despite the circumstance he and his family are in.
One of this is the looming P37,800 bill he has yet to pay at the Benguet General Hospital.
“I signed a promissory note at BeGH. I have yet to return since I still don’t have the means to pay, I need to tend to my sayote first,” Alonzo said. – Ofelia C. Empian