Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Long-awaited aspiration of Indigenous People Community

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon - Sitio Banualay, Brgy. Gupitan of Kapalong, Davao del Norte is a far-flung indigenous cultural community of Ata-Manobo Tribe consisting of about fifty (50) families. Students from this Sitio have to cross the rivers aboard locally made rafts for almost 5 hours or to walk for about 4 hours in order to reach the nearest school.

Through the government’s initiative to provide far-flung indigenous cultural communities with classrooms to address educational needs, Sitio Banualay, Brgy. Gupitan, Davao del Norte became the recipient of the Construction of Classroom for Lumad (CCL) Project which is one of the projects implemented by Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) National Community Driven Development Program.

The implementation of the project encountered several problems prompting the discontinuation of the construction by the winning bidder and contractor. Due to the said circumstances, The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region XI made an agreement with the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) for the completion of the said vital projects.

On October 8, 2020, the Armed Forces of the Philippines took the role in the implementation of the CCL projects by deploying 1 platoon of skilled personnel from 534th Engineer Construction Battalion, 52EBde, PA which will carry out the construction of the school and 60th Infantry Battalion and 1001st Infantry Brigade of 10th ID, PA to secure the area.

The Construction of a standard Classroom for Lumad was a dream come true for the IP Community in Sitio Banualay, Brgy Gupitan, Kapalong Davao del Norte.

Through the spirit of “Bayanihan,” the community work hand-in-hand to fast track the completion of the long-awaited school building. The community tribal warriors or so-called “Bagani” hauled the materials from the nearest access road while the women helped in the cleaning and clearing of the school periphery.

The CCL Project was completed on 01 November 2020 and the historical first Flag Raising Ceremony in the community was successfully held on 02 November 2020 followed by a simple Hand-over Ceremony of the newly completed CCL Project. The activity was attended by LTC ROLLY B FIGUEROA CE (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 534th ECB together with Staff Officers and NCOs, Security Team from 60th IB, DSWD XI Facilitator, and members of the community of Sitio Banualay.

During the ceremony the Tribal Leader of Sitio Banualay, Datu Martinez Lundia said, “Kay dili namu gusto nga kining among kabataan nga musunod sa among katigulangan nga walay gyuy kabangkagan, wlay insakto nga paglantaw nga kung unsa among kaugmaon. Kining eskwelahan, pila na ka tuig ang paghimop ani, Karun pa gyud nahuman”.

The activity ended with a message from LTC Figueroa, “Kami sa gobyerno gusto gyud namo mag improve inyung kinabuhi, dapat kining eskwelahan dapat ampingan nyo.”

Brigadier General Rommel Hinlo, Commander, 52nd Engineer Brigade lauded the concerted effort made by the 534th ECB, 52EBde, PA 60th IB, 10th ID, PA, and other key stakeholders in the completion of the CCL Project in Sitio Banualay. He assured that Army Engineers in Eastern Mindanao will continue to reach indigenous communities in far-flung areas to deliver much-needed services such as infrastructure projects to uplift the lives of the indigenous people and to pave way for economic and social development.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 52nd Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army

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