AMAS, Kidapawan City (Nov 23) – Thousands of senior citizens from Cotabato Province’s 17 towns and lone city of Kidapawan benefit from the free eye examination and free eyeglasses from the Provincial Government of Cotabato’s “Antipara Para Kay Lolo at Lola”, a component program of Gov Emmylou “Lala” J. Talino-Mendoza’s early gift giving to her constituents.
The free eye examination and refraction is in cooperation of partner ophthalmologists or eye specialists from private and public hospitals and the distribution of free eye glasses is facilitated by the provincial government in coordination with the respective Local Government Units (LGUs).
Now on its third year since it was started in 2013, the free eye check up and eyeglasses distribution has helped and changed the lives of many senior citizens from the 17 towns and lone city in the Province of Cotabato.
Gov Taliño-Mendoza said she recognizes the need of senior citizens or the elders to wear much-needed eyeglasses to help them in their day to day activities.
“We in the provincial government are aware of the important things our elders need such as these eyeglasses which they will use all the time and will provide them with ease or convenience”, said the governor.
So far, the provincial government has conducted the activity in nine areas including Magpet (Nov. 9, 2015) with 400 beneficiaries; Kidapawan City (Nov. 11) 265; Makilala (Nov. 12) 376; Arakan (Nov. 16) 305; Antipas (Nov. 17) 570; Pres. Roxas (Nov. 18) 376; Tulunan (Nov 20) 438; M’lang (Nov. 23) 286 and Kabacan (Nov. 24) with 512 or a total of 3,528 beneficiaries in 8 municipalities and Kidapawan City alone. Other areas will soon be visited for the conduct of the program and these are the municipalities of Carmen, Midsayap, Banisilan, Alamada, Aleosan, Libungan, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Matalam,
Magpet Municipal Mayor Florenito Guzman, whose municipality was the first to benefit from the program, said the activity is life-changing for some of the beneficiaries particularly those elders who cannot afford to have their eyes checked and have eyeglasses.
“I saw happy faces during the distribution of free eyeglasses and for this I am very much grateful to the provincial government most especially to Gov. Lala for looking into the welfare of our elders”, said Mayor Gonzaga.
The mayor added that the program helps many indigent senior citizens and families not only in Magpet but to other municipalities.
Lolo Tonyo, one of the eyeglasses beneficiaries in Magpet said he could not help but express his emotions as he was being examined and given the specs. “Malipayon gid ang akong Pasko karon tungod niining regalo. Salamat kang Gov Lala sa iyahang dakong tabang sa amua”, (My Christmas is so happy because of this gift. Thank you to Gov Lala for her big help to us), said Lolo Tonyo
Gov Taliño-Mendoza and Vice-Governor Greg “Dodong” Ipong who both welcomed the senior citizens during the distribution’s opening program in Magpet said they recognize the great contributions of the senior citizens in the development of the province.
“Our elders are an integral part of our society and looking back to the things they have done for us, it is but proper to honor and give them back what they deserve from us”, said Gov. Taliño-Mendoza.
For his part, Vice-Gov Ipong said he is one with the elders in all the endeavors to make them productive individuals even at their age. “The senior citizens must always be part of the development of our communities and must always be part of activities that keeps them active and uplift their morale”, said Vice-Gov Ipong.
In this regard, the two officials continue to have open lines of communication and coordination with the Provincial Federation of Senior Citizens Association (PFSCA) and provide wide support to its members.
Meanwhile, in another component gift-giving activity, thousands of senior citizens also benefited from the ongoing “Pamaskong Handog ni Gob Lala 2015 – Alay kay Lolo at Lola” which has already been conducted in 10 villages starting Nov. 9.
Gov Taliño-Mendoza wanted to bring joy to as many elders by visiting them in selected villages and hosting a fun-filled program where they can enjoy together and receive gifts from the provincial government. They would also have the opportunity to spend the special day with her and the other provincial officials present at the event.
Truly, the senior citizens in the province are up for early special treat this season. A delight they deserve from the provincial officials and the people who love them and recognize their important role in the society. (JIMMY STA. CRUZ with reports from ROVILLE ANN SOTTO/Photo by SIDNEY NANINI-PGO Media Center)