LUNA, Apayao – First, he introduced the unique and stunning way of celebrating the Annual Philippine Civil Service Anniversary which is considered by many as one of the best practices of Apayao. Now, another noble idea has captivated the mind of Apayao Governor Elias C. Bulut, Jr. that aims to fascinate the eyes and heart of the people not only for this Christmas Season but whole year round—the putting up of a permanent Christmas Village in the capitol ground.
Bulut said it’s his dream when he became a governor to construct a village considering the predicament of the Iapayaos visiting far places like Manila and Baguio just to visit Christmas villages during Christmas season.
Now that his dream was fulfilled, he thanked all heads of the national line agencies stationed at the Province along with the Local Government of Luna and his provincial department heads for their full support to finally construct a village which can withstand rains and be there whole year round.
“Without you, without your supports to our programs, we cannot do this. I thank you very much for giving your time and for helping me realize this dream,” Bulut said in his simple message before the lighting of the Christmas village.
After some postponements due to bad weather, the opening and lighting of the Apayao Christmas Village pushed through on December 7 which was attended by the heads of national line agencies, students, government employees and visitors.
Bulut said when the Christmas Village was still under construction, he warned Provincial Tourism Officer Rebeccah Mamba that he will not attend the opening and lighting of the Christmas village as it seems ugly. “Kapag ganyan kapangit ang village (If it will be unpleasing), I will not attend the opening day, ngunit ngayon andito ako kaya ibig sabihin, hindi ito pangit (but now I am here, so it means, it is not ugly),” Bulut stressed with a grin.
Timely for this Christmas season, Bulut long desired to provide another avenue where government employees could once more literary showcase also their ability as public servants in entertaining, presenting their basic services and products in an unusual means and also offering gifts to less fortunate Iapayaos for at least two (2) weeks starting December 5. People can visit the place and witness performances until December 21 for there are “pakulos” (treats).
Composed of six (6) clusters representing six (6) “kubos” (kiosks) from different national line agencies including the Local Government of Luna, each cluster is tasked to reach out for the identified beneficiaries in a particular municipality for the gift giving activities. Priorities in the sharing of gifts are the agtas, persons with disability, senior citizens, poorest of the poor, out of school youths and selected high school students and elementary pupils.
Each cluster provides among others food items, clothes, wheel chairs for the disabled, jackets and blankets for senior citizens, shoes and slippers, umbrellas or raincoats, hygiene kit and Noche Buena pack.
Bulut encouraged the clusters to sell foods and drinks so that the visitors will enjoy their stay at the village. He thanked the people for coming and for supporting this program. “Maaramid tayo daytoy nga mangiparikna ti ayat tayo kadagiti tattao. One way of showing the essence of Christmas is touching the hearts of our populace. Marikna yunto ti isem ken panagyaman dagiti maikkan,” Bulut admitted.
By GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN