The Mandurriao Elementary School (MES) served as venue for the Iloilo City pupils that were among the recipients of this year’s Balik Sigla, Bigay Saya! A Nationwide Gift-Giving Program of the Office of the President held on November 26, 2023 between 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Spearheaded by Pagulikid Pilipinas: A Social Development Program of First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos through its Chairwoman Mrs. Virma Yasa-Apostol and in coordination with Mrs. Milagros G. Edrosolano, the Principal of MES, the pupils were given an advance Christmas program which included fun-filled games, giving of school supplies and noche buena packs and Jollibee breakfast and lunch.

The same activities were also given to the 250 locations across the Philippines covering more than 17,000 disadvantaged student-recipients.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and his First Lady led the ceremony at Malacañang Palace which was simulcasted to various areas such as Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Marikina, and other areas.

“We all know that Christmas is really for the children, and we all have a Merry Christmas when the children have a good Christmas,” said a visibly delighted President Marcos in his speech.

“I’m so happy. Ito talaga ang ibig sabihin pag Christmas spirit; pagka napapaligiran tayo ng mga bata na ang gugulo na maiingay, makukulit pero masaya (This is the true meaning of the Christmas spirit; when we’re surrounded by loud, playful, but happy children),” he added.

He also said the annual event gave the children a wonderful feeling that the government cares for them.

“Nandiyan ang ating mga kabataan at nabibigyan natin, just for a few days, a very good feeling na silang lahat ay iniisip natin at inaalagaan natin (The children are here and we give them, just for a few days, a very good feeling that we think about and care for them),” he added.

The yearly gift-giving activity kicks off the holiday season across the Philippines by sharing joy with youngsters, especially those in need, as President Marcos said, “Christmas is really for the children.”

Last year, a similar program were given to the children in Guimaras and the City and Province of Iloilo through the DSWD centers.