31 centenarians in Negros Occidental were recognized by the provincial government in a ceremony marking the 120th Negros Day at the Capitol Lagoon and Park on Monday.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., in his message during the awarding rites, congratulated the awardees as he urged Negrenses to remember the past leaders of the province who sacrificed and dedicated their lives for freedom.
The “Cinco de Noviembre” commemorates the Negros Revolution on Nov. 5, 1898 when Filipino soldiers forced the Spaniards to surrender and retreat from the battle by using fake canons and rifles to deceive their colonizers.
“We were freed from the bondage of the Spanish rule 120 years ago,” the governor said, but he acknowledged that despite such freedom a long time ago, the problem of poverty still prevails among the Filipino people, including the Negrenses.
Marañon said that is why in Negros Occidental, the provincial government is working to bring its services closer to the less privileged, particularly by providing educational scholarships and free health insurance.
Meanwhile, each of the centenarian awardees received a PHP100,000 cash incentive, plaque of recognition, and a Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program card.
The list of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office included only 30 awardees, but the governor announced the inclusion of Virgilia Marigomen Taguiwalo, a retired teacher from Sagay City, who is the mother of former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
The oldest awardee was 106-year-old Magdalena Lozada Java of Cadiz City.
There were two 102-year-old awardees — Ucomedes Maglente of Sagay City and Lucio Entise of Himamaylan City — and four 101-year-olds — Loreto Azucena of Victorias City, Solterana Del Prado of Binalbagan, and Ana Barenzuela Manato and Gorgonio Salaber Alonsagay, both of Himamaylan City.
Azucena and Del Prado were given posthumous awards received by their respective family members. Seven other awardees had passed away.
Of the 31 awardees, six were from Sagay City; four from Talisay City; three from Victorias City; three from Himamaylan City; two from Cadiz City; two from Bago City; two from Hinigaran; and one each from Silay City, La Carlota City, Pulupandan, Valladolid, Pontevedra, La Castellana, Binalbagan, Ilog and Hinoba-an.
In 2016, the Provincial Board approved the Negros First Centenarian Act, which grants a one-time cash incentive of PHP100,000 to centenarians who are residents of Negros Occidental for at least three years. Those living in Bacolod City are not qualified. (PNA)
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