President Rodrigo Duterte expressed deep concern over the senseless killing of soldiers during the launching of TienDA Para Sa Mga Bayani in Camp General Adriano Hernandez in Dingle, Iloilo last February 22.
“Yung mamalengke ‘yung sundalo, pinagpapatay ng NPA (Soldiers who are on their way to market are being killed by the NPA). Not in actual combat. No guns are drawn and yet, my soldiers are dying needlessly. Ayaw ko yung mamatay ang sundalo namamalengke lang (I don’t want soldiers getting killed just going to the market),” said the President
The Commander-in-Chief brought up the issue to Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol as they seek solutions to address the problem.
One suggestion is to bring the market to the camps, thus the birth of TienDA Para Sa Mga Bayani, the brainchild of Agriculture Usec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The program is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of National Defense (DND), which allows farmers and fisherfolks to sell their produce directly to the consumers, primarily the soldiers, inside the military camps.
“More suggestion followed. One of them nag-suggest pero ginawa talaga would be the Aboitiz family and he’s represented by Sabin here. Yung manok nangingitlog araw-araw (The chickens lay eggs every day),” said Pres. Duterte.
Sabin Aboitiz, Chief Executive Officer of Pilmico Foods Corporation (the food subsidiary of the Aboitiz Equity Ventures) and Trustee of the Aboitiz Foundation, presented to Pres. Duterte the egg-laying machines to be given to the wounded soldiers. The Aboitiz Group is just as grateful and concerned with the well-being of the soldiers as their commander-in-chief.
We are so happy that our top leaders truly care and genuinely recognize the sacrifice of our soldiers. It’s a heroic and noble act to dedicate one’s life to serve our country. We will continue our tradition of ‘taking care of family.”
–Sabin M. Aboitiz, CEO, Pilmico
One of the recipients of the egg-laying machines is Pfc. Von Carlo Torres who was shot during an encounter with the New People’s Army on February 8, 2015 at Brgy. Roosevelt in Tapaz, Capiz. While a caliber M-16 bullet is still lodged in his body, he is now able to walk albeit with a noticeable limp.
Pfc. Torres is extremely grateful for being a beneficiary of the TienDA Para Sa Mga Bayani program, especially now that he’s retired. “Malaking tulong sa akin ito dahil supposed to be, ‘di na ako nagdu-duty, matututukan ko na rin yung pag-alaga ng manok (This is such a big help to me since I’m no longer on duty. I can now focus on taking care of the hens),” he said.
An egg-laying machine is a backyard farming starter kit that allows the continuous production of eggs in a period of 16-18 months. Each kit contains 48 ready-to-lay (RTL) hens, galvanized steel cages, feeders, and water gallon containers. In addition, a one-month supply of Pilmico feeds will also be provided. Each kit can yield about 46 eggs a day.
Officials of the Philippine Army recognize the great help extended by the Aboitiz Group to the soldiers. For Brigadier General Pio Diñoso III, Commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, the donation means more than just an additional livelihood program.
“Hindi lang ito tungkol sa manok, tungkol sa business, it shows how yung private company, or how people love their soldiers. Kasi yung soldiers hindi naman sya nanghihingi ng any reward or hindi siya nag-iintay ng papuri. Thank you sa Pilmico. (This is not only about the chickens or the business. It shows how a private company or how people love their soldiers. They do not ask for any reward nor wait to be praised. Thank you to Pilmico),” said BGen. Diñoso.
Under the PAGKAIN Para Sa Mga Bayani livelihood program, the Aboitiz Group (through Aboitiz Foundation) donated several egg-laying machines to various military camps, which includes Camp Panacan in Davao, Camp Gen. Adriano Hernandez in Iloilo, and Camp Gen. Manuel Yan in Compostela Valley. Empowering the soldiers by providing them with sustainable livelihoods is a clear testament to the company’s strong commitment to advancing business and communities to help drive change for a better Philippines.