CARAGA – The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. and GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), distributed food packs to over 900 poor families in Surigao City and Talacogon, Agusan del Sur for the Bags of Blessing (BoB) project last February 17, 2018.

DSWD regional staff assist in the registration and validation of the beneficiaries along with the City Social Welfare and Development Office staff.

The BOB project is a yearly tradition done in celebration of the Chinese New Year, through the initiative of Dr. George S.K. Ty, chairman of Metrobank Group, as a way of sharing their prosperity to the poorest of all Filipinos.

As stated by Eugene Bantilan, branch head of Metrobank Gaisano, “This nationwide project which started in 2011, is intended for underprivileged families. Instead of ‘ang-paos’ (red envelopes containing cash), we distribute red bags with P1000 worth of food items each.”

“As to the identification of beneficiaries, we validated the list from DSWD Caraga through the Listahanan and conducted a survey separately,” he said.

Bantilan also added that it is their first-ever distribution in Surigao City covering 500 non-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. A total of 400 bags were also distributed in the municipality of Talacogon headed by Maricel Mahubay, branch operating officer.

Each bag contains five kilos of rice, coffee and milk, canned goods, noodles, cooking oil, and snacks for children.

Sydney Thaddeus Yap, heads the distribution of the BoB project, for the beneficiaries in Surigao City.

Leonardo Salazar of Brgy. Sabang said in gratitude, “Waya nako’y lain ikasulti kondili ‘Salamat!’ kay nakadawat kami ini na grasya. Natunong pa gajud pagkahuman sa Basyang, amu jaon tagkinahanglan gajud namo ini kuman na panahon. (I have nothing left to say but ‘Thank you!’ because we have received this gift. It came just in time after Basyang that is why we really need these right now.)”

The activity was also made successful because of the presence of the Mindanao Area Head Sydney Thaddeus K. Yap with the assistance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and various local government officials. ###(JOANA RICA P. MILLAMA/MARKO DAVEY D. REYES/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)