Since Governor Lilia G. Pineda assumed her post as head of the province last June 30, hundreds of needy people have been regularly trooping to the Pampanga capitol to seek her assistance for their various needs.
According to Luchie Gutierrez, former provincial social welfare and development officer and now special assistant to the governor, the number of people requesting for Pineda’s assistance averaged 150 per day and on Mondays sometimes reached 500.
“We attend to our public’s needs which would vary from requests for medicines and other medical services to payment of hospital bills and financial assistance,” Gutierrez said.
She added that they also had clients who requested for legal assistance and other matters pertaining to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The special assistance program, according to Gutierrez, is manned by seven personnel, who ensure that the clients are properly and immediately attended to.
“We were instructed by the Governor to make sure that the requests of these clients of the provincial capitol are promptly acted upon,” she said.
For the first 14 days of the Pineda administration, the said special assistance program has served more than 1,500 clients from various areas of the province.
“We hope that we are able to help them in some ways; although we cannot fully satisfy all their requests, we make it a point to refer them to concerned local government units and public health institutions.”
Gutierrez said that she had initial discussions with Mamerto Gatus, head of the Provincial Cooperative and Entrepreneurial Development Office (PCEDO), on the provision of a livelihood program for qualified individuals.
The PCEDO has been implementing a livelihood program through which financial loans, with no collateral required and zero percent interest rate, are given to qualified individuals in the province to finance small-income generating projects.
Unemployed but qualified and willing individuals, according to Gutierrez, will be eventually trained to equip them with necessary skills and provide them with livelihood opportunities.
“We would not want to perpetuate dependency as we endeavor to develop self-reliance and ensure that livelihood opportunities are made available to our target populace,” she narrated.
At this point, the provincial government is trying to devise a system to facilitate and ensure the effective and efficient provision of needed health and livelihood services, Gutierrez ended.