They were part of the family of heroes - World War II veterans who fought for freedom.
As the government recognizes the urgency of helping the veterans and their family members, a group of youth beneficiaries organized a project to help the surviving veterans.
Dubbed as Project Bayanihan, the noble activity was initiated by the Educational Benefit (EB) scholars of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in Pangasinan.
Sheryl Simeon, provincial director of the Pangasinan Field Office of PVAO, said there are 17 EB scholars in this province and five of them embarked on the bayanihan project in San Carlos City.
“This is the scholars’ version of the popularly known community pantry, but with a twist. Food packs were brought to recipients’ residences through the help of the motorcycle riders’ club named Riders of Eugenio,” Simeon told the Philippine Information Agency.
The Project Team is composed of scholars Wilma Alejo (Asia Career College Foundation), Carl Vincent Beltran (Philippine Merchant Marine Academy), Yummy Francisco (PHINMA-UPang), Angella Kyla Cristobal (Colegio De Dagupan) and Justine Mendoza(PHINMA-UPang).
“Recipients of this project were veterans, surviving spouses and parents of those killed in action (KIA) whose ages range from 94 years old and above,” project leader Alejo said.
The oldest recipients are 103-year old WWII veteran Gregorio Martinez of Brgy. Coliling; 101-year old surviving spouse of WWII veteran Domingo R. Magalong- Melenciana C. Magalong of Brgy. Paitan-Panoypoy; and 100-year old WWII veteran Jose V. Austria of Quezon Blvd, all of San Carlos City.
“These efforts of the PVAO EB scholars of Pangasinan is their way of showing gratitude to our living heroes, their “laki” and “bae”, for the sacrifices they gave during their younger years for us to enjoy our freedom and experience life in this millennium,” Simeon added.
Indeed, these scholars know that when blessings are received, it is fitting to give these back to people who were instrumental in the successes they are now reaping. (JCR/VHS/PIA Pangasinan)