This as the agency carried out another community outreach project under its corporate social responsibility program.
Under the supervision of SBMA Public Relations manager Armie Llamas, the SBMA outreach team gave out food aid to some 35 families from sitio Timak and sitio Dose in Morong, and also fed some 100 children in the two remote areas.
Each child also received a new pair of slippers and candy packs, while their families received food packs consisting of rice, canned goods, coffee, sugar, and instant noodles.
The two communities, which rely mostly on their rice and corn crops, experience intermittent food shortages during the rainy season, said Llamas during the outreach project held by the roadside in Timak.
“Community leaders tell me that during this lean season of farming, the villagers have to make do with whatever they gather in their fields—vegetables, root crops—or they trap wild animals like labuyo (native chicken) if they can,” said Llamas.
Timak and Dose, Llamas explained further, are among the most isolated communities within the boundaries of the Subic Bay Freeport. The nearest school is an hour away by foot while the nearest market is a 40-minute ride by tricycle.
“With no electricity and water distribution systems, these villages are in real need of assistance from the SBMA, or any other group that can provide some help. We thus conduct regular medical missions and other socio-civic programs here,” she said.
Llamas added that “little things” like the SBMA’s food relief program can make so much difference in needy areas.
“Just see the children’s expression when they received those slippers and candies—their smiles become so infectious. See how the morale in these depressed communities get an instant boost,” Llamas pointed out.
Edralin Ocaya and Nixon Gerance, who respectively head the farmers’ cooperative in Timak and Dose, thanked the SBMA administration for the regular support extended to them.
“The rainy season, from June to October, is really a hard time for us farmers. We have to endure months with little or no food at all,” said Ocaya. “We thank the SBMA for helping us. We really appreciate your effort in climbing up the mountains just to make our children happy,” he told Llamas.
During the distribution of aid packages, one of the children who received a new pair of slippers, 13-year old Miguel Monte, raised his old, worn slippers whose rubber straps were about to snap off.
“They (SBMA team) arrived just in time,” Monte said, beaming. “Thank you for the slippers and the food.”