GIFT-GIVING. Food packs are distributed to selected beneficiaries in Paoay, Ilocos Norte on Tuesday (Dec. 21, 2021). Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc led the caravan, along with Capitol workers and other local officials. (Contributed Photo)

LAOAG CITY – In the spirit of Christmas and gift-giving, Capitol workers led by Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc are reaching out to the different towns and cities of the province to distribute Noche Buena packages to poor families and Yuletide assistance worth PHP1,000 to village front-liners.

On Wednesday, the governor’s team visited the town of Pinili where 11 barangays were served with 220 food packs for indigent families, 13 packs for persons with disabilities (PWDs), 11 Noche Buena packs for the remaining millennium development goal (MDG) beneficiaries, and 44 grocery packs for senior citizens.

Gifts for the elderly included vitamins and medicines while the other packages contained groceries and foodstuff.

“This is apart from the eight barangays visited in Batac City with a total of 259 food aid to selected indigents, PWDs, MDG beneficiaries, and senior citizens who are less fortunate than the others,” provincial social welfare and development officer Lilian Rin said in an interview.

Rin said they have prepared a total of 1,078 Noche Buena packs for the pre-identified MDG beneficiaries in the entire province while there are 3,000 grocery packs for senior citizens celebrating their birthday this month.

In addition, a total of 1,500 food packs will be distributed to PWDs while 20 indigents, including Indigenous Peoples (IPs), per barangay of Ilocos Norte's 557 villages will receive food packs, courtesy of the provincial government.

“May we all enjoy the season but be safe,” Manotoc said during the gift-giving distribution in Pinili town as he hopped from one barangay to the other and to the next town or city on schedule for the day.

Though almost all barangays, two cities, and 21 municipalities of the province have zero cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as of Wednesday, Manotoc reminded residents to remain cautious and always practice health and safety protocols.

As in previous years, the beneficiaries of the Christmas caravan were those not included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) who get regular assistance from the national government.

The barangay front-line workers in the province will receive a PHP1,000 cash gift each during the Christmas caravan, which will be held until December 24. (PNA)