The city government has shifted its “ayuda” initiative of distributing rice bags to residents, to actually cooking congee meals and doing rounds in the barangays to distribute the hot rice meals to households rich and poor alike.
Dreu Manlawe, executive assistant IV in the City Mayor’s Office, said Wednesday that the community kitchen started two weeks ago serving Arroz Caldo infused with ginger and other ingredients that can help boost the immune system during the health crisis.
He said the rice supply they used to cook the congee was excess from those they distributed during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“Right after ng bigayan ng ayuda ng bigas — actually, ang original plan ay community kitchen kaya lang dumating yong mga bigas. Inuna i-dispatch yong mga bigas. Right after na i-dispatch yong mga bigas, after ng dispatching ng mga 10 kilos na bigas, tinuloy namin itong plano from the City Mayor’s Office,” he said.
Manlawe said the urban survival garden in front of the City Coliseum was for the purpose of having healthy vegetables to serve as meals to residents.
The idea was to increase access to healthy meals during the quarantine period and support members of the community to become self-reliant by inspiring them to set up their own home vegetable gardens.
“Originally community kitchen talaga ang plan kaya in-establish ‘yong survival garden kasi ang plano ay doon kukunin sana ang ingredients for the community kitchen. Mas mabilis gawin ang arroz caldo, puwedeng pambata at pang-matanda,” he said.
Manlawe said some people have complained about the bland taste of their congee, but he explained this is because of their consideration to the elderly residents who cannot have salty foods.
He explained residents who are allowed to have their meals more flavorful can just add salt or fish sauce.
“Nagtataka sila kung bakit matabang, ang timpla namin is para sa matatanda kasi, kapag medyo maalat na siya mahirap na siya habulin, wherein kung matabang siya pwede pa siya dagdagan ng patis o asin,” he said.
Partnership with Delta P
On June 6, the city government in partnership with Delta P prepared meals to feed residents in barangays San Jose and Tagburos.
Manlawe said regardless of economic status, they give meals to each home. On average, they can provide 3,500 meals per scheduled distribution.
He said that their schedule in urban areas will end until Saturday in the remaining barangays of Sta. Lourdes, Tiniguiban, Sicsican, and Irawan before proceeding to rural areas.
Manlawe explained this was the timeline they were given by mayor Lucilo Bayron for urban barangays.
“Binigyan kami ng timeline ni mayor pero sa gawa na limited lang yong manpower, kasi nagkakaubusan din ng luya, nagkakaubusan din ng ingredients, na-extend din kami so nakakapag-overtime kami. Nag-a-outsource kami kung saan-saan mga farmers na makakapag-produce ng ingredients na kailangan,” he said.
“Not just breakfast lang, ang pagluto kasi ng lugaw namin ay umaabot ng one hour and ten minutes. Ang hinahabol namin ay merienda time,” he said, adding their first deliveries are served around 11 a.m.,” Manlawe added.
Delta P business development manager Cherry De Dios said that the contribution of their company to the city government is part of Energy Regulations No. 1-94 where the generation company and energy resource developer should set aside one centavo per kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) of the total electricity sales as financial benefits to host community, according to Department of Energy (DOE).
De Dios said that Delta P has given P1.5 million to the city government which is part of ER1-94 for development, livelihood, and environment. Portions were converted for the purpose of supporting the Bayanihan Act projects with projects such as the community kitchen.
“It’s a mandate of the government, na fast-tracked kasi before it’s just with us and they will just request for those projects or they have to submit proposals then we will approve and they will get from us and give it to them. Recently lang, there was a resolution na in-allow ng city councilors na mag-open ng account for this specific project,” she said.
She said that it is also their way to give back to the community that helps them to earn in their business. About 15 personnel of the power providing company helped in preparing meals and for distribution in each household.
“As part of the community, Delta P wants to extend whatever help that we can. Since isang lugar ito, usually we are not just there on our own compound, we also wanted to go out kung papaano kami makakatulong with the community kasi actually without the community, we are not there,” she said.