PBBM’s visit brings joy and blessing to Aklanons

Happiness and warmth.  These were the atmosphere inside the Augusto B. Legaspi (ABL) Sports and Cultural Complex on October 6 during and after the visit to the province of Aklan of the most powerful person in the country.

Many of those who were inside ABL on that day wore smiles, which seemed contagious as everyone responded with happy faces despite the hot weather and long wait for the special event in the province.

October 6, 2023, was the first-ever visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., to Aklan after winning the highest position of the land.

Along with his visit was the distribution of rice and various government assistance, with thousands of Aklanons as the recipients.

The province of Aklan was among the three provinces in Panay chosen by the President to be the beneficiary of the Bureau of Customs’ forfeited smuggled rice in Zamboanga City.

In Aklan, 1,000 sacks of premium quality rice were distributed to the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

One of the happy recipients of the 25-kilogram of rice was Eden Bergonio of New Buswang, Kalibo.

Beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Kalibo waiting for the arrival of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. at ABL Sports Complex, Kalibo, Aklan. (Photo courtesy of PGA)

“Masadya gid ako ag akon nga pamilya ay isaea ako sa nakabaton it bugas ngara. Gapasaeamat gid ang ay napilian ako. Maeagko gid a nga bulig kamon ra ay suea na lang ro amon nga bak-eon (My family and I are happy for this free rice. I am very thankful that I was chosen as one of the recipients. This will be a big help for us),” Eden said while grinning.

Eden, a housewife who has five children with a husband who works in a bakery with a meager salary, said that the free rice she received would help them in their meals for almost a month.

“Malipayon man ako ay nataw-an ako it tsansa nga makita ko ro aton makara nga Presidente. Gapasaeamat gid kami kana ay napilian ro aton nga probinsya ag nakabisita eon imaw iya sa Aklan. Kabay pa mapadayon pa gid nana ro ana nga programa sa mga nagahikaeos sa nasyon (I am very grateful because I was given a chance to see the President in person. We are also thankful that our province was chosen as recipient and PBBM at last visited Aklan. We hope that the programs and projects for the poor will still continue),” Eden noted positively.

Another rice recipient was a housewife from Andagao, Kalibo, Mayleen R. Panique. Like any others, she could not contain her happiness.

Even though she was not able to have a close encounter with the President, she was very thankful for the assistance PBBM brought.

“Masadya man gihapon maski uwa ko gid nakita it maeapitan o nalamanuhan si President Bongbong. Dahil sa ana nga pagbisita hay daea man nana ro abu-abo nga bulig sa probinsya. Ag ako bilang 4Ps member hay makabaton it grasya tungod kay PBBM (I am still happy eventhough I did not see President Bongbong upclose. With his visit here, he also brought so many assistance and support to the province. Also I, as a 4Ps member, will be able to receive such blessing from PBBM),” Panique said as she patiently waited in line to receive the rice assistance.

Eden Bergonio of New Buswang, Kalibo carries the 25-kg rice she received during the PBBM’s visit in the province of Aklan. (Photo courtesy of PIA Aklan)

An ambulant vendor, Elsa Reyes, was lucky enough to handshake and personally thank PBMM. Elsa is from Libtong, Estancia town. She is married to a construction worker and they were bestowed with three children.

“Indi ko gid rayang adlaw malipatan ay akon gid nga nalamanuhan si President Bongbong ag nagpasaeamat gid ah ako kana. Kasadya eang ay ana gid ah ako ginpamatian ag naghibayag

imaw kakon (I will not forget this day as I was able to see President Bongbong closer, shook his hand, and personally thanked him. I am so happy because he really listened attentively and he smiled back,” Elsa said happily.

She added that her child commented that it would be their first time to eat a premium type of rice. Due to low income, Elsa only buys rice that is cheaper, or “ea-on” in the local dialect.

With the free rice, their supposed budget to purchase it was diverted to the educational needs of her children.

Just like the other women beneficiaries of rice, Eden, Mayleen, and Elsa, carried the 25 kilograms of rice lightly with smiles on their faces.

According to DSWD-Aklan, of the 1,000 recipients of rice, 893 were female and 107 were male, noting that all of them were residents of Kalibo, Aklan.

Another government agency that distributed assistance to Aklanons during PBBM’s visit was the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

DAR-Aklan in the presence of the President distributed e-Certificates of Land Ownership Award (e-CLOAs) to 372 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), farm equipment/pieces of machinery, and fertilizers to different ARB organizations in the province.

“Ea-um ko indi na mag-agto sa amon nga booth si President. Pero nakibot ako hay ginbalikan nya gid kami bago imaw magsulod sa ABL ag personal nana nga gin-award kamon ro mga fertilizer nga halin sa DAR-Aklan. Nalipay gid kami sa anang presensya. Nakita naton nga bilang Presidente it nasyon ag Secretary it Department of Agriculture hay ro ana nga buot ag pagpahaega hay ina sa sektor it agrikultura (I thought the President will not drop by our booth, but we were all surprised because he went back and proceeded to our booth before entering the ABL. He personally awarded to us the fertilizers that came from the DAR-Aklan. We were all happy with his presence. We saw that as President of the nation and as Secretary of DA, his heart and mind are in the agricultural sector),” said Emerson Gregorio, chairman of the Aglucay Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. personally handed to Emerson Gregorio, chairman of the Aglucay Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative the 72 packs of fertilizers. (Photo courtesy of PIA Aklan)

Gregorio received the 72 packs of fertilizers on behalf of Aglucay Farmers MPC of Makato and Monlaque Agrarian Reform Cooperative of Ibajay.

“Indi namon madescribe amon nga kalipay sa pagbisita ni PBBM. Sa mga programa it gobyerno hay mahambae namon nga grabe ro suporta sa sektor it agrikultura. Nalipay kami ay naaapreciate or naacknowledge man ro amon nga effort. Amon nga nabaton makara hay sambilog eamang ra sa mga nabaton namon. Padayon ag abo eun mat-a ro suporta nga nababaton namon (We could not describe the happiness that we feel for PBBM‘s visit. We could say that the government has been supportive to the agricultural sector. We are grateful that our efforts have been appreciated and acknowledged. What we received today was just one of the many supports the government had given to us),” said Gregorio.

Meanwhile, Ayessa Lory B. Ang, a second-year student of Aklan Catholic College, was among the 64 scholars of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Aklan under the Diploma in Information and Communication Technology, who received a P8,200.00 allowance during PBBM’s visit.

“Gapasaeamat gid ako kay President Marcos sa pagtao it makara nga bulig paagi sa TESDA. Abo gid a ro nabuligan kara nga mga estudyante ag mabuligan pa. Maeagko raya nga bulig kakon sa pagtuon ag syempre sa ang ginikanan nga handum nga mapatapos kami it pag-eskuyla (We are thankful to President Marcos for the assistance we received through TESDA. Many students have been

Scholars of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Aklan fall in line to receive their cash allowance or toolkit during PBBM’s visit in Aklan. (Photo courtesy of PIA Aklan)

and will be aided. This is a big help for me and of course for our parents whose dream for us is to finish our studies),” Ayessa said.

TESDA also distributed cash allowances of P6,300.00 each to 21 scholars under Tourism Services Technology and 107 toolkits worth P4,688.85 each, consisting of tablets and accessories to 107 students of Northwestern Visayan Colleges.

Other government agencies who also distributed assistance to their respective beneficiaries were the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture, DA-Agricultural Training Institute, Department of Health, Commission on Higher Education, and PhilHealth.

Aside from the recipients of the government assistance, other Aklanon attendees who were inside and outside ABL were also happy for the first-ever PBBM visit. Seeing the President in person was enough for them to fade their long wait and endure the hot weather. (AGP/SQP/PIA Aklan)

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