By: Rodrigo S. Victoria, PIA Biliran

Biliran, Biliran (28 December) – The Chief Presidential Legal Counsel of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) embodies the real Santa Claus this morning in the jampacked bus terminal this town as he distributed the different forms of valuable gifts coming from the different government agencies to Biliranons.
Secretary Sergio Apostol who arrived in Biliran town through a chopper was with region 8 regional directors Letecia Corillo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Engr. Juan Sabulao, Jr. of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Leo Cañeda of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Adelaida Asperin of the Department of Health (DOH) and Regional Manager (RM) Ben Marta of the National Food Authority (NFA),
Secretary Apostol represents in behalf of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the yuletide gift giving sorties in region 8 that includes Samar and Biliran provinces that belong to the Priority 1 and Priority 2 provinces dubbed as Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo.
More than 30,000 poor families have been identified by DSWD as recipients of the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo in region 8.
He first personally distributed the packs of assorted grocery items to members of identified poor families living in the municipality of Biliran.
The grocery items inside each gift pack are composed of two-kilo rice, a can of corned beef, packs of noodles, sugar, coffee and powdered milk.
In the province of Biliran, more than seven thousand poor families will receive the packs of grocery items coming from the municipalites of Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan and the island municipality of Maripipi.
Aside from the grocery gift items handed by Secretary Apostol, he likewise assisted in another ceremonial handing of valuable gifts coming from TESDA, DA, NFA, and DOH.
TESDA through regional director Sabulao and the agency’s provincial director in Biliran Loreta Banario handed the Belt ni Kikoy to the barangay captains who represents the 28 trainees under the Galing Mekaniko Ako (GMA) and the Belt ni Kikay under the 25 trainees under the Galing Masahista Ako (GMA). T-shirts were also given to the recipients of the two programs.
The trainees under the two training programs will start their training by January next year in Cabucgayan National School of Arts and Trades (CNSAT), a TESDA accredited vocational school located in the municipality of Cabucgayan.
TESDA also distributed P5,000 worth coupon to 284 tertiary students of Naval Institute of Technology (NIT) and Biliran National Agricultural College (BNAC) for the second semester under the Ladderized Education Program (LEP).
The agency also distributed P10,000 worth coupon to ten trainees under the Sheet Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) and P7,000 worth coupon to seven trainees under the Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) which training will be conducted in CNSAT. These programs are under the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo-Training for Work Scholarship Program (PGMA-TWSP).
Likewise, the parenrts and relatives of the graduates from the different TESDA-sponsored scholarship programs welcomed the visitors with their placards conveying the different messages expressing their gratitude for their employment here and abroad and for providing their own source of livelihood and income.
For the part of DOH, the agency through ARD Asperin distributed drugs and medicines under the Gamot Mabisa, Abot Kaya that will be sold in the Botika sa Barangay which will be opened in the identified municipalities of the province.
Under the food security and accessibility programs of the government, NFA through RM Marta distributed Tindahan Natin certificates to identified operators in Biliran province while DA through director Cañeda distributed the certificate for the operation of the Barangay Food Terminal to the identified recipient municipality in Biliran.
The Tindahan Natin outlets will provide easy access to consumers of the basic goods and prime commodities at affordable prices while the Barangay Food Terminal will likewise assist farmers in selling their produce at a lower price compared to what have been sold in the market at the advantage of the consumers.
For its part, NNC gave the Biliranons the knowledge and techniques in the preperation of low-cost yet nutritious foods that is personally demonstrated by the staff of the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU).
Meanwhile, Mayor Carlos Chan of Biliran town gave his gratitude to PGMA through Secretary Apostol and the regional directors for visiting his town and for the valuable gifts given to his constituents and to the Biliranons as a whole.
Mayor Chan said that he is thankful for giving priority to Biliran province since it belong to the poorest of the poor provinces in the country today.
He even asked more support from the government for Biliran province so that it can graduate from the list of the poor provinces.
The gift-giving activity was also attended by the concerned heads of the national government agencies stationed in Biliran province, heads of schools, local elected officials in the province of Biliran and the officials and employees of LGU-Biliran. (PIA-Biliran).

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