In Iloilo, Vegetables and Dried Fish as Relief Goods!
Lory Joyce Andagan | April 15, 2020
Photo courtesy of Karl Parcon and Jay Marty Victoria
As the battle against COVID-19 continues, everyone is affected by the situation of enhanced community quarantine especially those who depend on their income daily. Farmers are worried about how they will sell their crops. Fishermen cannot go fishing because of the situation. Small businesses left with no choice but to close their stores. With this, the local government in Sara, Iloilo conceived of an idea to help their people.
On top of the usual relief goods distributed to the locals in Sara, Iloilo, Mayor Jon Aying decided to buy the crops of the farmers to support their income and give these as relief goods to the locals. “Gusto ko nga indi ma-hamper ang agricultural production sang pumuluyo namon kag ang ila nga economic wage indi madula (I don’t want to hamper the agricultural production of the residents and their economic wage will never loose),” says Mayor Jon Aying. One of the long-term plans of the municipality is to strengthen the agricultural sector since they are an agriculture-dependent municipality. “Gin – encourage ko ang mga pumuluyo nga magtanom especially vegetables kag high-value crops (I encouraged the residents to plant especially vegetables and high-value crops),” says Aying. Since COVID -19 occurred, however, the agricultural business was affected because no one will buy their products. “I thought of buying their products and give it to the less fortunate in our town. In that way, the farmers have an income while the people who will receive the goods will also receive healthy products,” explained Aying. The local government aims to give the goods to the 16,000 households of Sara but the top priority as of this time is the poorest of the poor. Aside from the vegetables and crops, the local government is also buying dried fish from the neighboring coastal municipalities such as Ajuy and Concepcion to be included in the relief goods packages that are given to the residents. “In that way, we are also helping our neighboring town with their economy despite the threat of this pandemic,” adds Aying.
To promote balance, truth, and fairness, the local government wanted a multi-sectoral approach for the distribution of goods and financial aids. Different organizations took part in this initiative such as NGOs, religious sectors, and even teachers who came to help in the repacking and delivering of goods to the community. "Happy and satisfying gid kay kung wala ang mga volunteers, kabudlay gid sang pag pack kag pag distribute. Kung makita mo ang tawo nga happy kag grateful as ayoda nga gina extend sa ila, happy ka man (Happy and satisfying because if not for the volunteers, it will be difficult to pack and distribute. If you saw the people who are happy and grateful to the help that you are extending to them, you are happy also)," says Jay Marty Victoria, Principal of Del Castillo Elementary School, Sara, Iloilo.