Christmas gift giving warms hearts of Kapampangan senior citizens

Tuesday | December 12, 2017 | 5:10 PM

Christmas gift giving warms hearts of Kapampangan senior citizensPasay City Representative Emi Calixto-Rubiano (7th from right) and Mayor Tony Calixto (8th from right) join Casino Filipino Malate General Manager Enrico Livelo (3rd from left) and Senior Branch Administrative Manager Shiela Verzosa (2nd from left) during PAGCOR’s gift-giving activity for the 1,500 beneficiaries in the city.

Christmas gift giving warms hearts of Kapampangan senior citizensEighty three-year-old Arturo Gonzales (right) receives a noche buena gift pack from a PAGCOR employee during the corporation’s gift-giving event in Pasay City. He is one of the 1,500 beneficiaries during the fourth day of PAGCOR’s Pamaskong Handog 2017.

Christmas gift giving warms hearts of Kapampangan senior citizensAn elderly happily sings along with celebrity performer Dessa during PAGCOR’s Pamaskong Handog event for the Mandaluyong City Federation of Senior Citizens on December 8, 2017. Eight hundred elders in the city benefitted from the corporation’s gift-giving event.

Angeles City, Pampanga - Francisco “Franc” Olingay, 73, recalls his younger years as full of fun and adventure. But like those who reached retirement age, life's changes are inevitable.

Having numerous accomplishments during his younger years - from being a correspondent for national newspapers to traveling here and abroad, earning a Master’s Degree and even going to law school - he now just stays home and can barely walk.

Franc’s mobility and sense of hearing are impaired due to complications from diabetes. He has been undergoing dialysis twice a week. At times he feels sad because of his situation but he never loses hope. This coming Christmas, he only prays for people to visit him, especially his children whom he hasn’t seen for many years.

It isn’t Christmas day yet, but one of Franc's wishes already came true when the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) visited him and 1,000 fellow senior citizens in Pampanga to give presents to them through the Pamaskong Handog program.

The elders received gift packs containing noche buena items. They were also entertained by guest artists Eva Eugenio and Norman Mitchel.

For Franc, Christmas is the same for everyone - rich or poor. It just becomes special when people show kindness to others. "Yung maalala ka at mag-share sila ng kung anong meron sila. Hindi ko inaasahan ito mula sa PAGCOR, sa dami ng senior citizens. Tila maliit man na bagay, malaki yun dahil sa presensya nila. Binigyan nila ng pahalaga yung mga pagkalinga sa mga tao, lalo na sa aming mga seniors," Franc said.

United Pampanga Senior Citizens Organization (UPSCO) President Linda David shared they have 200,000 active senior citizen members in the entire province. Many of them belong to indigent families. "Some just rely on pension while others are dependent on their families' support. That's why the beneficiaries were very glad to have received gifts from PAGCOR."

Apart from the senior citizens in Pampanga, PAGCOR also held early Yuletide gift-giving activities for 1,800 senior citizens in Mandaluyong and Pasay City last December 6 and 8, respectively. The agency will also conduct its Pamaskong Handog to 2,000 more seniors in Parañaque City and Manila in the coming weeks.

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