‘Pacman’ hands out livelihood packages to poor in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 June) – At least 350 poor residents in the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani Province have received livelihood packages through a flagship anti-poverty initiative of world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao.

Glan Mayor Victor James Yap said Friday the livelihood grant is part of the initial P8-million fund put up by the Sarangani congressional office to assist the marginalized fisherfolk and farmers within the province’s seven municipalities.

Under the program, he said at least 50 fishermen from the coastal barangays of Glan received new pumpboats worth at least P25,000 each. Yap said an additional 300 residents received a cow worth P18,000 each under the congressional office’s cattle dispersal program.

“The project is a realization of (Rep. Pacquiao’s) campaign promise to help alleviate poverty in the province by providing livelihood opportunities to our poor residents,” he said.

Yap, who is a close ally of Pacquiao, said more residents would benefit in the coming months from the program, which is mainly funded by the Sarangani congressional office.

The mayor said Pacquiao also made sure that the purchase of the pumpboats and cattle were done properly and in transparent manner based on standard government regulations.

He said the livelihood packages have all passed the inspection of the Commission on Audit before they were delivered and turned over to the beneficiaries.

Meantime, the Sarangani congressional office turned over at least seven new ambulances to the province’s seven municipal governments.

Pacquiao, who personally joined the simple turnover rites last Wednesday at the Sarangani provincial capitol, said the new ambulances were donated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to the province in exchange for his earlier endorsement of the agency.

He said the ambulances, which were worth P950,000 each, were equipped with various modern equipment necessary for emergency medical as well as disaster responses.

“(The ambulances) will ensure the fast delivery of our patients from local communities in the province to nearest hospitals and related facilities,” Pacquiao said.

Sarangani residents presently rely on hospitals based in this city for their medical needs but Pacquiao assured that his office has been working double time to facilitate the construction of the proposed P500-million provincial hospital complex at the provincial capitol grounds in Alabel town would commence within the next few months. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)