ILOILO City – Despite his hectic schedule, Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III flew in here yesterday to attend the launching of “Gugma Day” of Lone District Rep. Julienne “Jam” Baronda, a program that brought social services to hundreds of beneficiaries and rolled out employment programs.
“I can’t thank enough the good Secretary Bello for joining us today despite his very busy schedule, and for the employment programs he has shared with us. Rest assured your first congresswoman will not stop working until I deliver the promise of H.O.P.E.
[health, obra, peace and order,
which I made last elections. Those were not empty promises nor promises made to be broken but promises to be delivered to the Ilonggo people,” Baronda said.
She emphasized that more programs will be brought in and additional government agencies will be enjoined as “Gugma Day” goes to more districts in the city to benefit more marginalized Ilonggo citizens. It will be held sustainably in all the seven districts in the next few weeks.
“This is just the beginning. We will make this bigger and better,” said the neophyte legislator who was described by Bello in his speech as “beautiful and hardworking.” The warm reception of those who came to the Legislative District Office (LDO) inspired Baronda to do more and make it way better.
Bello, meanwhile, vowed to support the employment programs that Baronda wants to bring to Iloilo City such as the training for those who want to work abroad to be conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
He said DOLE will help Ilonggo nurses who want to work in Germany, Canada or to China, as well as other Iloilo residents who want to work in Japan. Others may opt to work as butchers in Australia, too.
Baronda told the nearly 1,000 beneficiaries and guests that “Gugma Day” will be a regular periodic social services initiative of her office in partnership with Mayor Jerry Treñas and the City Hall to bring medical, dental and other government services closer to the Ilonggos, especially those in the periphery.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through Secretary Bello and Regional Director Cyril Ticao, distributed motorized bancas to 11 fisherfolk associations to help them earn a living and reboot the fishing sector in the coastal villages of the city.
Baronda sought the help of Bello when she learned that the fishers in Iloilo City were having a hard time with their income and could not fish due to dilapidated pumpboats.
“I went around after the elections and I continue to go around even until today and I harvest concerns and wish lists from people. And then I try to do something within my means to bridge gaps and plug holes. This is one of the concerns brought to my attention. I am happy to help,” she said.
Baronda also distributed uniforms to 195 Barangay Service Point Officers (BSPOs), 174 Supplemental Feeding Workers, 97 Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS), 168 Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and raincoats to 291 traffic aides.
Department of Health (DOH) regional director Marilyn Convocar was also present as Baronda’s brainchild “Balik-Sigla” program was launched. Under the initiative, 14 physical therapists were engaged under the DOLE Government Internship Program and will be supervised by DOH to offer professional rehabilitative programs to stroke survivors.
Dominggo Barias of Barangay Magdalo, La Paz district lined up early hoping to get checked up. He was attended to by the doctors and the 72-year-old was all too happy to bring home free medicines.
The part-time tricycle driver said, “Dako gid nga pasalamat kay maka-avail kami biskan gamay lang nga bulong.”
Fisher Ronnie Mandal of Barangay Calumpang, Molo district is thankful that they have a new pumpboat to use. The 51-year-old father said, “Dako gid mabulig sa amon kay ang pagpangisda lang ang amon nga ginapangitan-an.”
Joselito Animas of Barangay Sto. Niño Sur, Villa Arevalo thanked Baronda for the initiative saying, “Gapasalamat gid kami kay Cong. Jam-Jam Baronda. Syempre ang amon man nga mga myembro gapasalamat gid nga may nabaton kami nga grasya. Magamit gid ini namon sa amon pagpangisda.”
Baronda’s office will capacitate the fisherfolks’ associations by training and guiding them comply with the documentary requirements for them to avail of more government programs. They will be taught to do the minutes of the meeting, monthly reports, financial reports and the like.
Baronda, meanwhile, thanks the Iloilo City Government headed by Mayor Treñas for partnering in the program along with City Health Office, DOLE, DOH, Philippine Red Cross Iloilo Chapter, University of Iloilo-PHINMA College of Nursing, Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Telecommunications, Inc., Redeeming the Nation Foundation, Inc., St. Augustine School of Nursing, Panay Marian Rose Foundation, Inc., United Fraternities and Sororities of Panay, Physical Therapists Registered Phils., WVSU Medical Center, Department of Social Welfare and Development, lawyers and the office of Councilor Love Baronda and the City Council led by Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
She also extends her gratitude to Arla Foods Corp. Philippines/Fly Ace Corporation, Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc., Gold River Management and Development Corporation, Virginia Foods, Inc., and Sue’s Cake.
Baronda also wishes to thank members of the media particularly the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps for their help./PN