The Mayor of Sadanga, a 5th class municipality in Mountain Province made an unusual move amid the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
Mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga announced that he refused to accept the relief goods came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), saying that his people could sustain themselves without the food aid from the government.
“Today I was informed by our MSWDO that some relief food packs sent by the DSWD region are now available at the PDRRM office in Bontoc for LGU’s that might be requesting,” Ganggangan said on his Facebook post.
“However, I decided and instructed our MSWDO to relay our message that our municipality will not be availing of these food packs even if the lockdown will be extended,” he added.
Ganggangan believes that the community of Sadanga was prepared for economic hardships such as ‘food shortages’ as they have a culture that the richer people of their villages are expected to help the needy relatives or neighbors.
He also said that even in worst-case scenarios, their community has a plan to survive the the crisis.
“Its 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 kins, neighbors ,or kailyan in distress during hard times or economic crisis,” he said.
“It is during these kinds of economic hardships such as “food shortages”, hunger and famine that the “richer or better of” ( kadangyans) among a clan or village are expected to aid their needy relatives by lending their surpluses,” he added.
“Should this crisis extend longer to the extent that our needy families really run out of their rice supplies, we shall mandate the kadangyans of every barangay to open up their rice granaries ( agamangs) to sustain us through to the next harvest season. I assure that no family shall go hungry in our municipality even during these hardtimes,” he also said.
The Mayor said that instead of sending their food packs to Sadanga, he told the government to prioritize the people living in the cities who don’t have the capacity to sustain themselves.
“Let the Nat’l Gov”t feed those more needy urban poor in the cities and those less fortunate in other areas who can’t sustain themselves, while we sustain ourselves while we can,” he said.
Ganggangan’s post has gone viral on social media and received 2,500 shares as of writing.