IN THE course of recognizing and providing assistance to the centenarians in Murcia, local government officials came across an elderly resident who might possibly be one of the oldest living centenarians in the island of Negros and the entire country.

"At almost 110 years old, Lola Concepcion Lauron of Barangay Damsite is still alert and can still hear clearly," said Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas, who visited her Wednesday.

"She readily answers questions without the need of repeating them. She even sang an old, long-forgotten Ilonggo song for us," Rojas said.

Lola Concepcion credited her longevity to a healthy diet consisting of fish, fruits and vegetables.

She said that processed food, like canned goods, is also not part of her diet.

Under the administration Rojas, Murcia has embarked on a program to recognize and assist the centenarians living in the town.

Through the Department of Social Welfare and Development headed by Ana Naranja, the town provides P10,000 cash assistance and P5,000 worth of groceries to the centenarians and their families.

So far, town officials led by Rojas, Vice Mayor Johnny Reosura and the Municipal Council members have reached out to six centenarian beneficiaries.

"Lola Concepcion is the oldest centenarian we have visited," the mayor said.

Her 80-year-old daughter, who accompanied us to her, said she was born on December 8, 1911, and she was also given recognition and incentive by the Provincial Government during the administration of the late governor Alfredo Maranon Jr.

Incidentally, Lola Concepcion's birthday falls on the feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion, the patroness of Murcia parish church.

The parish marks its 157th anniversary this December 8, which also marks Lola Concepcion's 110th birthday.

Apparently, her name was derived from the deep-rooted Catholic practice of naming a child after the saint who celebrates his or her feast day on the day the child is born.

With the sad, untimely passing last November 22 of 124-year-old Lola Iska, or Francisca Susano of Kabankalan City, who was believed to be the oldest living person in the world, Lola Concepcion Lauron of Murcia might possibly be one of the oldest living centenarians in Negros Island and the entire country. (PR)