VIGAN CITY – People work to earn for a living, so they could enjoy a decent and comfortable life.
While this is true to most, Aurelia Aguilar or Aling Aurelia as she is fondly called says working in her community is not about salary but rather about her passion to serve.
Aling Aurelia, a 60-year old widow, is a barangay nutrition scholar (BNS) of Barangay Oaqui, Luna, La Union. She lives with her only son.
With her dedication to implement health and nutrition programs in their locality, she was awarded recently as the 2017 Region 1 BNS champion.
“Napamahal nak ditoy trabaho kon ken agen-enjoy ak ken kaykayat ko met iti tumultulong kadagiti ubbing. (I have loved this job and I enjoy it so much helping the young children),” Aguilar shared.
Her work as a BNS started when she had to quit her job as a factory worker in Makati after she and her husband met an accident. The mishap left her unfit to work with her impaired leg, thus decided to move back in their hometown.
She was initially offered a much better pay by their barangay captain to become the barangay secretary, but she declined and chose instead to give her services as a BNS.
As an active BNS, Aling Aurelia receives a meager payment of P754 per month from the barangay, P300 from their municipal government, and P1,000 from the provincial government.
As the regional winner of Ilocos Region, her exceptional initiatives led her to becoming one of the five finalists to the Search for Outstanding BNS at the national level.
Having served as a BNS for 13 years, she initiated projects that include the construction of sanitary toilets for four identified poorest families of their locality which contributed to the barangay’s declaration of zero open defacation. These families, she said, have preschoolers so, she did her best to make it possible through solicitations.
Another humble project she did was posting of nutrition-related information materials like the “Ten Kumainments” and “Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos” along the barangay roads, which she said could create awareness about the importance of healthy nutrition that can help improve their health status.
Having just a measly nutrition fund in their barangay, Aling Aurelia seeks for some other ways in coming up with possible nutrition-related projects through the very supportive barangay nutrition committee of Oaqui, chaired by their barangay captain.
She added that being a BNS is “the fulfillment of my dreams as a nutritionist.”
“When we talk of nutrition, team work is a very important factor. Every little thing that’s being done will have good results,” she added.
Aling Aurelia received P10,000 and a certificate for winning the 2017 Provincial Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholar; P20,000 and a plaque of recognition as the regional winner; and P15,000 and a plaque as one of the top five finalists in the national search.
The Regional Nutrition Awarding Ceremony was held on August 30, 2018 at the Vigan City Convention Center in Ilocos Sur. (JNPD/MPA/PIA-1, La Union)