Senior Citizens are among the most vulnerable groups in this time of Covid-19 pandemic as they face a significant risk of developing serious complications if exposed to the virus. This is the reason why they were confined to their homes and were restricted to go out during the pandemic making them less productive.

But for Mrs. Alicia Tadifa, 69, a senior citizen of Brgy. Bato, San Fernando City, La Union, limitations set by the pandemic due to her age did not in any way hinder her ability to serve others and her community. At her age, she is still an active farmer producing organic vegetables.

A former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Singapore, Aling Alicia discovered her passion for community service in 1983 when she started as a volunteer Barangay Health Worker (BHW) in their area.

Other than being a BHW, she held other positions in the barangay such as Barangay Nutrition Scholar, and Barangay Service Point Officer, all of which gave her no monetary compensation as these are all volunteer works. Despite this, she served wholeheartedly her community looking at opportunities where she can be of help to her neighbors and fellow farmers. In CY 2002, she was elected as Barangay Councilor and served for two consecutive terms.

With her passionate and sincere commitment to serving her community, her dedicated contributions to the welfare of others did not go unnoticed. She was awarded as Outstanding Barangay Health Worker during her time and received a P16,000 cash award from the City Government of San Fernando.

Refusing to be just an ordinary citizen as she is driven to give more of herself in the service of others, she joined various organizations so she can be part of worthwhile programs and projects in the locality. She joined the Bato Farmers Association; City of San Fernando Vegetable Growers Credit Cooperative; Province of La Union Vegetable Growers Association; and the Organic Agriculture Cooperative, all of which have appointed her the position of treasurer. At the time that she joined these groups, she is already a senior citizen.

A natural-born leader, Aling Alicia did an excellent job being the treasurer of their association as she helped their group increase their investments and resources. By actively participating in trainings, seminars, and other activities conducted by the Department of Agriculture, she was instrumental in several grants and interventions provided by the DA to their association. She has likewise unselfishly shared the knowledge she acquired about farming in the trainings and seminars she has attended.

As of date, Aling Alicia’s groups are recipients of various farm machinery and equipment such as 4-wheel drive tractor, cultivator, brown rice mill, and water pumps from the Department of Agriculture and the City Local Government Unit of San Fernando, La Union. Her group is also a recipient of vermiculture project, free-range chicken as well as an incubator from the AMIA program of DA.

As a farmer, one of her most significant contributions during the pandemic is sharing her harvest of vegetables to DA’s KADIWA Community pantry. She shared for free volumes of her harvested vegetables so that other less fortunate families would have food on their table during the pandemic.

She likewise helped other farmer coops and associations in marketing their produce during the pandemic. A beneficiary of the KADIWA Agri-Kart project of DA-RFO I providing free stall for organic agri products at the CSI City Mall of San Fernando City, La Union, Aling Alicia shared space at her stall to sell products from other farmers.

At the height of the pandemic when farmers in La Union could not bring their produce to intended markets region-wide, Aling Alicia served as a consolidator for various commodities produced by farmers from nearby barangays and other municipalities in the province.

Having established familiarity and rapport with staff from the City Agriculture Office and at the DA Regional Office, she helped link farmers with said offices for programs and activities that would provide marketing assistance for them. Through the DA-RFO I’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), a stall was provided for her fellow farmers where they could sell their naturally grown vegetable produce.

With her good example of kindness and servitude, she has influenced others to share their blessings during the pandemic.

Having mastered her role as a treasurer of the four associations she joined, Aling Alicia also unselfishly shares her services to other newly established associations by volunteering to assist in processing their BIR and certificate of registration as associations.

Indeed a “Jack of all Trade” kind of woman, a senior citizen at that, Aling Alicia continue to inspire others especially individuals that seem to look at their senior age as an excuse to be idle and unproductive citizens just allowing time to consume their God-given abilities.

For Aling Alicia, she firmly believes that one should never put an age limit to service, though no one can avoid aging, but aging productively certainly has its rewards.###

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