Gapan Mayor Emeng Pascual III in Nueva Ecija has earned public plaudits for adding live chickens and eggs to the canned goods and instant noodles usually found in relief packs.
Gapan is in Luzon, where the enhanced community quarantine is in force to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, April 8, Mayor Emeng gave the residents under his jurisdiction a bigger treat: their choice of ham, hotdog, tocino, skinless longanisa, or marinated chicken in their food packs.
The Gapan mayor said some 36,000 residents could get their ulam by the end of the day.
During a Facebook Live session, Mayor Emeng said, "Ang 'no niyan, pipili po kayo kung anong gusto niyo.
"Itong bigayan na ito ay kuwan, lahat po ng ito ay ngayong araw na ito. Buong Gapan, nagbibigayan na."
Where does the mayor get his funds for these treats?
He said in his post, "Dun nga po pala sa menu namin na ito, lahat yun pera ng city hall, except dito sa Chicken Marinado.
"Ito po ay bigay ng Chooks-to-Go sa halagang kalahating milyong piso."
Chooks-to-Go sells grilled chicken.
In some communities, Mayor Emeng himself led the distribution of the food packs with Vice Mayor Dodong Bautista Jr.
The mayor also assigned barangay captains to facilitate distribution in other areas.
He said this was a happy moment for them all.
In his post, "Ang saya kasi kahit papaano nakakalimutan namin yung kalamidad. Ang saya po, ang ganda ng bigayan dito."
He added, "Magaa-alas-onse na po ng tanghali. Napaka-init pero mas mainit po yung pagtanggap ng mga tao.
"Nakikita natin na masaya sila. Yung malasakit namin, masarap na naipaparamdam sa kanila.
"Para po yung mga tao, kung nahihinaan man po ng loob dun sa nangyayaring problema ngayon, e kahit papaano po e mapalakas natin ang loob nila."
Toward the end of his Facebook Live, Mayor Emeng left a message to the residents of Gapan.
He said, "Simpleng mensahe, huwag po kayong lalabas ng bahay. Kami na ni Vice Mayor Dodong sa labas at dun na kayo sa loob.
"Kami na ang bahalang magtrabaho sa labas. Hindi po namin pababayaan ang mga tao sa lungsod ng Gapan."
A netizen, Doc Romeo Erese III, shared an appreciation post on Facebook for the mayor's initiative.
Romeo wrote, "How about an appreciation share for this? Level up! Extended Enhanced Community Quarantine ka lang, BATANG GAPAN kami! Yung feeling na may choices ka, salamat YORME EMENG!"
He had earlier been praised for earmarking PHP6 million of his own money for relief efforts in his town.
Aside from food distribution, the local government of Gapan distributed PHP1,000 cash assistance to the community's transport sector, which includes tricycle drivers, bus vendors, jeepney drivers, and dispatchers.