Thousands of Ata-Manobo tribespeople literally had their hands full from a flurry of government services, during the DavNor Adlaw sa Kalinaw Information and Service Caravan at Vicinity Bato, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte on April 21, 2021.
Governor Edwin"Kuya Gob" Jubahib led national and provincial agencies in bringing the first-ever government service caravan to the Indigenous People (IP) of the far-flung sitios of Vicinity Bato, Pinanian, Bulo, Piroy, Labo, Butay and Km. 39.
It took about three hours for the participating agencies to travel some 90 kilometers from Tagum CIty to Vicinity Bato, traversing via Talaingod-San Fernando, Bukidnon Road, to offer free medical check up and medicines, x-ray, circumcision, food packs and milk-feeding, haircut, story-telling, IP games, and distribution of slippers and coloring books, among others.
The indigenous women were also given training on tocino and sweet longaniza-making, while the consultation with tribal leaders and IP youth were in progress.
The Adlaw sa Kalinaw is in pursuit of the governor's local peace framework, which implemented the president's Executive Order No. 70, “Institutionalizing the Whole-of Nation Approach in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.”
Jubahib said the provincial government intends to pour development funds in the distant IP villages to let them feel the strong presence of the government.
"We reached out to these distant IP communities who were left out to let them feel the true government truly cares for them and to convince those yet in the armed struggle to return to the folds of the government," he said.
Military reports said a considerable number of IP families in the area have members or relatives still active in the communist movement.
Datu Manoling Tingkas affirmed the absence of government services and lack of education made them vulnerable to the communist terrorists.
He echoed the collective request of the tribal leaders for health centers, schools, roads, power and other services.
"There is no reason for our families and relatives to stay in the rebel movement anymore if we have these infrastructures, which are vital in improving our quality of life," he said in the vernacular.
Jubahib revealed some funds were already allotted for the makeshift schools and teachers in the sitios, as well as for their livelihood.
To complement the on-going P1-billion Bukidnon-DavNor-Agusan Road, the governor assured to open more roads leading to their respective villages so they no longer need to walk for hours just to get to the main road to bring their produce to the market.
The governor also welcomed six new surrenderees during the program, where he gave them P5,000 each.
Also gracing the occasion are OPAPP-Eastern Mindanao Area Manager Oliver Binansilan, 1003rd IB Commander BGen. Nolasco Mempin, 56th IB Commander Col. Norman Valdez, Davao del Norte Police Provincial Office (DNPPO) Chief Col. Ranie Hachuela, Board Member Roger Laguna, Mayor Jonie Libayao, Provincial Administrator Engr. Josie Jean Rabanoz and various department heads, and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Victor Villones, and representativs from Department of Education (DepEd) Department of Labor ang Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), among other officials.