The Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) of the Philippine Army, through the 52nd Engineering Brigade, has entered into an agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of the Municipality of Talaingod, Davao Del Norte for the construction of classrooms intended for the children of the Indigenous People (IP) group Lumad in the town.
The project is under the DSWD Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the government’s poverty-alleviation programs implemented by the Department which uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach to empower communities in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities.
The project will initially be implemented in seven sites in Barangay Sto. Niño, Talaingod, which is considered a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA).
Under the agreement signed by the parties, the implementation of the project shall adopt a convergence strategy and will use a “whole of nation approach,” wherein communities involved shall participate and the programs of different agencies involved will be integrated.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Eastern Mindanao Command represented by Brigadier General Dionisio Baudin, Commander of the 52nd Engineering Brigade, committed to providing security, technical assistance, limited labor, and supervision until the completion of the project.
In his message during the event, BGen. Baudin emphasized the sincerity of the military to carry out the project.
“The real job is after the signing of this agreement. We assure everyone that we are sincere and will carry out the task of building these classrooms for our IP children and youth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DSWD, together with the Municipal Tribal Council, the local government of Talaingod, and the concerned barangay will be in charge of procuring materials and in monitoring of cultural sensitivity and the participation of the community and tribal beneficiaries in the overall implementation of the project.
Also present during the agreement signing were DSWD Region XI Assistant Regional Director for Administration Rebecca A. Santamaria, Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao, BGen. Antonio Rosario who represented EASTMINCOM Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, and other officials from the LGU and the military.
“We thank our army engineers for helping us provide our Lumad children in remote communities with access to basic social services,” Asst. Dir. Santamaria said.
“We at DSWD know that the IP sector is one of the most marginalized and disadvantaged in our society. This is why we do our best to reach out and extend basic social services to different IP groups through the implementation of our programs and services. We also continue to work together with our partners from the government to carry out initiatives that would improve the quality of life of our IP-kababayans while still preserving their culture,” Asst Dir. Santamaria ended.
In photo: Philippine Army Engineers in action. (Philippine Army file photo)