Services for peace reach far-flung village in Davao del Norte

Some 3,000  residents availed of the government services that the provincial government of Davao del Norte recently hauled to far-flung Sitio Babak, Barangay Sto. Niño, Talaingod, Davao del Norte through  the Oplan Serbisyo sa Kalinaw.

Traveling about two hours from the Provincial Capitol located in Tagum City, provincial government offices brought their respective services to the Department of Education  (DepEd) Basak Integrated School.

Provincial Governor Edwin I. Jubahib led the delivery of pooled services consisting of medical, legal, dental, technical skills education, agriculture, and socio-economic. The PLGU also entertained the people from more than 20 nearby villages inBasak through song renditions of the One DavNor Band.

Some 3,000 residents of far-flung villages in the Municipality of Talaingod availed of various services hauled by the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte during the launch of Oplan Serbisyo sa Kalinaw on November 7 at Sitio Basak DepEd Integrated School

Most-awaited services

Even before tents and rooms were set up to administer minor surgery, particularly “tuli” or circumcision, 26-year-old  Glory Manlaunan  was closely watching the start of  the admission  as she tagged along her two little boys.

They woke up early to catch a dump truck they could  hitch-ride from Sitio Kulob-kulob to Sitio Basak for the Oplan Serbisyo sa Kalinaw. She made sure that she, along with the boys, could catch that trip; otherwise, they would have to travel on foot for two hours,  or  she would have to pay P300 for a single motor ride to Sitio Basak.

“Mahal kaayo ang plite; tulo gatos lang pud among niadlaw (The fare is extremely

high; we’re only paid three hundred a day),” she told PIA Davao del Norte, comparing the family’s income with that of  the fare rate.

“Mahal pa jud ang bugas. Traynta ang salmon (The cost of grains is also high; P30 per salmon can),” she said, explaining that  an empty  salmon can is used in her community  as a measurement in buying grains (rice or corn) instead of a weighing scale.

A kilo of grains is usually equivalent to 3 salmon cans, she added.

Aside from circumcision, other medical services included consultation, x-ray, eye check-up, and dispensing of medicine. The Provincial Health Office (PHO) Davao del Norte led a team of eight doctors, some of whom were sent by the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) and the Municipal Health Office of Talaingod.

Cuts on fares

On the other hand,  Gemma  Bawian of Sitio Cabadiangan made sure that she brought her son to  the caravan of government services to avail of a free haircut.

“Dili nako mo-adto Sto. Niño  aron pagupitan (I no longer have to go to Sto. Niño just for his haircut),” she said, referring to the town proper, where parlors and barber shops are located.

Bawian recalled having paid P200 for a single motor ride from her village to Sto Nino and imagined the cost she would be saving from fare to-and-fro, if she would took advantage of the free haircut service atOplan Serbisyo sa Kalinaw.

Helpful for parents

Basak Integrated School Master Teacher Estrella Milapez told PIA DavNor that the caravan tremendously helped the parents whom the school administration were counting on to support school activities and projects.

 Basak Integrated School currently has 172 kinder to Grade 6 pupils and 89 Grade 7 to Grade 10 students.

“Grabe jud, 100% support in terms of our projects,activities, and plans.[S]uportado kaayo mi nila, ma’am. (Tremendously! 100% support in terms of our projects,activities, and plans. They are fully supporting us,)” Milapez said.

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) Davao del Norte hired three individuals to render

haircut services, while the Davao del Norte Police Provincial Office (DNPPO) deployed its own police personnel to do the same, prioritizing the schoolchildren.

Looking apprehensive while under the barber’s razor blades, the little boys just held up their fearful feelings to get the shaving done as some other boys were lining up for their turn.

While mothers, fathers, children, and other individuals were going every which way  to avail of government services, some were converging at the Sitio community hall to listen and sing along  with the One DavNor band.

The band members engaged the people interactively, asking who among the audience would love to sing. Probably used to just singing “a cappella,” enthusiasts ended up singing along with a band member to get them in syncwith the beat and rhythm of the accompaniments.

Indeed, people in Sitio Basak of Barangay Sto. Niño in Talaingod are enjoying a relatively peaceful situation, as Municipal Mayor Jonie Libayao noted in his message during the program held during the caravan of services.

Libayao recalled the chaotic situation of Sitio Basak and nearby villages when they were still under the control and influence of the communist terrorist group (CTG) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

One glaring episode of such chaos was when NPA elements burned units of heavy equipment used to open and construct the Davao del Norte Talaingod-Bukidnon Road.

The Call

“Sa unahan, diha nasunog ang bulldozer para unta sa inyo kaayuhan nga dili na mo magbaktas, apan unsa ang ilang gihimo, gisunog  ang inyong kalipayon. Imbis malipay na unta kay naa nay kalsada. (Just a  distance from here, a bulldozer was burned that was supposed to be for your welfare, that you no longer have to walk on foot, but what did  they do? They burned what would have made you happy. We’re supposed to be happy then to have a road constructed),” Libayao said as he looked back on the years of NPA dominance in the area.

“Ingon  ana ang kalisod nga gihatag nila atong panahuna (That was how hard they caused us during that time),” he said.

Backing up Governor Jubahib,  Libayao called on fellow Ata-Manobo fellows and constituents to collaborate and cooperate with  the government and heed the call of the governments to guard their communities against falling again under the influence of NPAs. (JMDA/PIA Davao del Norte)

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