Bontoc – The number of centenarians recognized and awarded by the Provincial Local Government Unit of Mountain Province (PLGU-MP) has reached 50 this August 2020 since the start of the provincial centenarian awards program in 2015.
This, as five (5) more awardees were visited in their respective home this week in the municipalities of Sadanga (100-year-old Juana A. Nay-osan in Demang); Sagada (Viviana D. Mangaccam, 100 in Antadao and Patrick T. Bawing, 100 in Patay, Poblacion); Tadian (100-year-old Agrifina C. Aligid in Batayan) and Bauko (102-year-old Mowan D. Laop in Mayag).
It can also be recalled that Binggayan T. Banawa of Saliok, Natonin received her cash incentive and congratulatory certificate last August 21, 2020 from the PLGU team led by Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr.. This makes the total number of centenarian-awardees in August 2020 – 6 – which is also the highest number of awardees in a month since January 2020.
According to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Paracelis with its 11 centenarians tops the municipality with the greatest number of centenarians followed by the municipality of Bauko which has 8. The other municipalities also reflect awardees except for Barlig which has no recorded centenarian. Tadian has 7; Sabangan, 6; Besao, 4; Bontoc, 4; Natonin, 4; Sadanga, 4; and Sagada, 2.
Per Provincial Ordinance No. 192, s. 2015 as amended by Provincial Ordinance No. 315, s. 2018, the Provincial Government of Mountain Province deems it proper to give due recognition and accord certain privileges to its qualified constituents who reach the age of 100 years old or more.
Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli, the co-author of the ordinance with then Board Member Romeo M. Pagedped, shared that the ordinance authorizes the PLGU-MP to award each centenarian with the amount of P 30, 000. The cash award used to be P 20, 000 but with the amendment of said ordinance in 2018, the amount was then increased. Together with the cash award is a laudatory certificate for the awardee signed by the chairman and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by Gov. Lacwasan.
Tauli also expressed his optimism that with the awards, people will be motivated to live a simple but healthy life.
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When asked as to their secret to reaching 100 years of age, the centenarians and their family members shared that one major factor in the latter’s longevity is a healthy lifestyle – eating organic food and daily farm work as a form of exercise.
Per recount also of the centenarians, they said that they used to subsist more on root crops, edible weeds, algae, mollusks, which they named as fakater, forfortak, binga, ket-an, bisukol, gurami, bayyek, fanisfis, tikam, etc. (terms may differ per municipality), which generally existed along the rice paddies they then tilled or tended to in the olden days. Almost all of them said that a part of their diet was and still is “sabeng/ safeng/ “aw-aw,” which is a kind of fermented food from a combination of rice, corn or some root crops cassava, meat and sometimes also bones (but some don’t put bones as it causes the putrid smell), fish and crabs.
According to Lilibeth C. Chapap of Bontoc, the main ingredients for “safeng” is uncooked camote, young kernel corn or leftover cooked corn, kamoteng kahoy/ cassava, a little meat, and hot or boiling water. The mixture is then left to ferment for eight weeks, she shared.
However, one of the locals of Batayan, Tadian also said that their “sabeng” is added with mudfish or “gaki” (small crabs).
Meanwhile, in his messages, Gov. Lacwasan consistently reminded all attendees to the series of awarding programs, their adherence to the minimum health protocols as a manifestation of social responsibility and as a show of cooperation with all officials from the national level down to the local offices.
“Let us heed the call of the World Health Organization, of President Duterte, of the IATF and of all other local officials for us to always wear masks and even face shields, observe social distancing and to stay at home if there is nothing too important for us to do outside our homes. This is our best defense and is the most effective way to stop the spread of the disease,” Lacwasan said.
The Governor also shared that as part of his administration’s Barangay Muna program, the PLGU tries to reach out to all the constituents of the province by bringing the programs, policies and benefits closest to the people and to the beneficiaries, e.g., centenarians.
“Ikabil mi ti kabaelan mi nga mangi-asideg iti programa, ayuda wenno anya man nga benepisyo kadakayo nga kakailian karkaro tatta nga tiempo iti COVID-19 nga narigat ti byahe nga mapan kadagiti op-opisina,” he said.
On the other hand, PSWD Officer Miguela P. Angwani also appealed to the family members taking care of the centenarians to continue giving the best care to the elderly and to protect them from any kind of abuse. Angwani said that given the physical and mental health deterioration among the elderly, there were observed forms of abuses in other places. However, Angwani said that with the culture of the Igorots wherein they have high respect for the old and that kinship is strong, she is hopeful that no untoward thing will ever happen to any of the senior citizens.
By Novy R. Afidchao
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