In a Facebook post, former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol shared his admiration for the people of Sadanga, Mountain Province.
Here's the full statement:
Lessons from Sadanga!
There is a very inspiring story circulating in the social media which tells of how a mayor of a poor town in Mountain Province, Sadanga, refused to avail of food packs for his constituents, waiving it in favor of other more needy communities who are suffering in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“It’s not that we don’t have poor and needy families but I believe that we as tribal communities still have and should sustain our built-in and homegrown or indigenous social structure, values, and practice of taking care of our respective relatives or kin, neighbors ,or kailyan in distress during hard times or economic crisis,” Mayor Gabino Ganggangan said in his public notice March 30.
“I assure that no family will go hungry in our municipality even during these hard times. Let the national government feed those more needy urban poors in the cities and those less fortunate in other areas who can’t sustain themselves, while we sustain ourselves while we can,” the mayor was quoted in stories posted on Facebook.
I have been to the Mountain Province several times as Secretary of Agriculture. It is a poor province which was selected to be given additional funding under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program of the Department of Agriculture.
They are poor but the people of Mountain Province are industrious and contented with simple living.
In contrast, I saw a video of a man who threw a bag of rice in front of his huge home in a subdivision in Metro Manila saying that it was not enough.
I also personally know of families who could very well afford to fend for themselves in these times of crisis who are noisily demanding that they too should be given whatever other families are receiving "para patas."
They are no different from well-off people who sell their votes for a few thousand pesos during the elections reasoning out that everybody sells his vote anyway.
Worse are those who spend the financial assistance on cigarettes and booze or gamble it.
These are the kind of people who lead us to perdition as a nation.
Imagine this. If all the well-to-do families would just refuse the food aid, then President Rody Duterte and the national government do not need to crack their heads finding funds to sustain the relief efforts.
The food packs and financial support could just be focused on families and communities who really need help.
The national government does not even have to borrow money from the World Bank or sell of many of its valuable properties.
How I wish we had more Mayor Ganggangans and Sadangans, poor but proud and self-respecting.
With many of them, this country could be great again and we as a people would learn to redeem our self-respect and dignity as Filipinos.
For me, the message of the Sadanga people is clear. "Pinikpikan" is so so much better than fried chicken. "Saleng" is brighter than those colorful street lights.
Kudos to the people of Sadanga!