Davao del Norte – The 3-day caravan of services for the Lumads in the farthest tribal village of Sitio Tapayanon in Kapalong town, this province, is a show window of President Rodrigo Duterte’s peace model.
Some 20 government agencies and non-government organizations brought a flurry of medical and other services, goods, food packs and other donations to the remotest indigenous people (IP) community, during the multi-stakeholder service convergence camp last July 21-23, 2019.
60th IB Commander LtCol. Gilbert Ombos said Project Tapayanon demonstrates the government’s “whole-of-nation” approach in ending the decades-long communist armed conflict.
“This is a showcase of the president’s EO 70,” he said.
He underscored the collaboration of all the stakeholders is the key to the success of the national peace framework in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
He also cited Governor Edwin Jubahib, who signed the Davao del Norte local peace engagement framework, which cascaded the president’s model in addressing the local insurgency problem and harmonizing the peace, development and security efforts in the province.
The governor visited the community two days before the activity, fulfilling their immediate request for food packs, as well as electric generator and TV sets.
The military unit’s Civil Military Operations officer 1Lt. Amadeus VJ Celestial revealed the services provided in the caravan include primary health care, medical consultation, medicines, profiling for the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Indigenous Peoples in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (MCCT-IPs in GIDA), and late birth registration.
School bags and supplies, clothing, mosquito nets, kitchen and cooking utencils, laundrywares and bathroom supplies, vegetable seeds and coconut seedlings, among others, were also given to the villagers.
A tree-planting activity was further held by the participating agencies.
The Tapayanon Elementary School was also established earlier, with three teachers funded by the local government unit.
The visitors, food packs, goods and supplies had to be airlifted by military chopper since the village is only accessible by a week of walk away from the nearest center of population in the hinterlands of Kapalong.
“Simula pa lang ito (this is just the beginning),” Celestial said, as he revealed the agencies were there to also determine the long-term interventions for the benefit of the disadvantaged community.
Tribal Chieftain Datu Bansing Balanban said his tribes people treasure the services and gifts given by their guests.
The village leader led the tribal ritual Panubadtubad to welcome the visitors into the collective embrace of the Lumads.
“Nalipay kaayo kami sa pag-abot sa mga serbisyo ug hinabang… Karon nakaila na jud kami sa tinuod nga gobyerno (We are very happy for the services and assistance… Now we truly know the real government),” he said, as he reiterated the loyalty and support of his IP village to the legitimate government.