Comval’s Bayanihan governance makes a difference anew
Compostela Valley province— Children on their worn-out slippers, some barefooted, lined up in front of the flagpole. Their parents, the community, local officials and government agency representatives, and private sector also stood straight on the side. Their right hands pressed firmly on their left, as they sing together the Philippine national anthem while the flag was hoisted up. Thus, the first flag ceremony was held at the newly built classroom in Sitio Puting Bato in Brgy. Ngan, Compostela in the early morning of May 31, 2019.
Sitio Puting Bato is the farthest sitio in the municipality and home to mostly Dibabawon tribe with about 77 households.
“Nakahilak ko mam, di ko katuo naa na mi eskuwelahan diring dapita,” (I can’t help but cry, I can’t believe we will now have a school) 30-year old Crisadel Adlawan said, as she wiped away a tear after the flag ceremony. Crisadel has all the reasons to be thankful for. Every Sunday afternoon, she and her 3 children had to walk for about 3-4 hours just to reach a makeshift house they had requested to occupy freely in the nearest school, Bango Public Elementary School. By Friday afternoon, it is another arduous walk back to their home in Sitio Puting Bato.
“Matag Sabado ug Domingo ra gyud ko maka atiman sa among gamayng uma kay kinahanglan man nako mubantay sa mga bata,” (It is only every Saturday and Sunday that I get to tend to our small farm as I need to be with my kids) Cisadel said. She added that she was willing to sacrifice the long distance rather than send her children to the left-leaning Salugpungan school located in their sitio.
“Tuig 2013 natukod ning Salugpungan nga eskwelahan pero sa ulahing kasayuran nakit-an sa mga Lumad nga ang Salugpungan usa lang ka dagway sa dili malahutayon na edukasyon. Ang kasaysayan sa Salugpungan usa ka eskwelahan na dili gyud ang bata makaangkon ug tinuod nga edukasyon,” (In 2013 the Salugpungan was put up here but in the end, the IPs found out that it does not cater to the learning needs of the children) said Datu Ocampo Adlawan, the sitio’s tribal leader.
But with the newly constructed 1 unit, 2 classroom building, Crisadel and the rest of the community will now be sending their children at this school to be named Bango Public Elementary School- Puting Bato Extension.
“Mapasalamatun kaayo mi sa pagtubag sa gobyerno. Karon maatiman na namo among uma kay diri naman sila. Di nami mahadlok kay mag tabok-tabok mana sila ug highway [sa katong muadto pa sa baba],” (we are very thankful that the government heeded us. We can now tend to our farm and won’t be afraid anymore for our kids’ safety when they cross the highway) she said.
Meanwhile, another conflict-affected and geographically isolated and depressed area (GIDA) in Compostela also had their new one-unit, 2 classroom-building turned over at Sitio Side 4 in Brgy. Mangayon on June 3, 2019.
Chairman Uraya Mansayloan, speaking on behalf of the dominant tribe, Matigsalog-Manobo, is thankful and hopeful that with the new classroom building, this will inspire them to have their own future teachers, engineers, doctors, and other professions to come from their community.
Both classroom-building sites in Compostela were turned over after just 22 days of “bayanihan para sa paaralan” where the community, government employees and other volunteers helped build the classrooms.
“It is the farthest communities that deserve our attention more. Kadtong lisud ang dalan, kadtong wala pa naabot sa serbisyo sa gobyerno ang dapat tutukan. I thank all the volunteers , DepEd, MLGU-Compostela, AFP, PNP, private sector, and the employees in the provincial government in helping build these classrooms,” Gov. Tyron Uy said.
Aside from the blessing of classrooms, the IP children in the said areas also received school supplies from Sumifru, upland rice seedlings, food packs and clothes from the provincial government. A “libreng gupit,” “paraisong pambata,” and even medical outreach were also held during the build.
Gov. Uy added that more projects are expected to come. “Daghan pa tang buhatun didto. Saad nako sa ilaha nga bisan unsa pa man kalayo ang ilahang lugar, andam kami nga mutabang kanila. Wala’y lisud nga problema basta magtinabangay.” (fe maestre, id comval)