By Rey Anthony Chiu | 12:57 PM November 23, 2022
It was an early Christmas for kids and the indigenous people living in Biabas Guindulman as the Association of United Development Information Officers in Bohol (Audio-Bohol) brought in last November 17, candy packs, school supplies, and boxes of gifts and wearables and relevant government information that the indigenous cultural communities (ICC) can use to access more government help.
During the 2022 Bisita Eskaya Community Immersion and Information Caravan, the indigenous cultural community led by its chieftain Reya Sondon Jovino Datahan, Barangay Chairman Cleofas Pabon, and village teachers (timamas) also prepared native delicacies, Eskaya cooking and featured their music and dances in grateful appreciation for the information officers’ visit to their community.
School kids danced two versions of the Sinarliston as teeners and some old IPS sang to guitar accompaniment.
Already the second visit to the indigenous peoples’ community to bring government information on its services to the marginalized sector of the community as well as gather feedbacks on government programs and projects, the visit to Biabas came after last year’s visit to another Eskaya community in Taytay Duero.
Information from government agencies and local government units shared to the community their ongoing programs and projects that might be applicable to the community, while the community in turn asked questions to guide them to avail of these programs and projects.
A Kapihan styled townhall meeting also featured the National Commission on Indigenous People’s help to the community even as the chieftain and the community leaders gathered to interact with the information officers.
Helping them in preserving their culture, alphabet, language, literature and traditions are village volunteer timamas (teachers) who hold Sunday classes for the elementary and high school, according to reya sondon Datahan.
While the barangay council has succeeded in giving s little honoraria for the timamas, the community is also asking help from government in getting additional honoraria to their Eskaya teachers.
Faced with a growing population and barely enough domains for the community to enjoy and continue practicing their lifestyle, the Eskaya leaders also asked the government to cancel Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) to patches of land to farmers, which also happen to be within their domains.
The activity forms part of the AUDIO Bohol Bisita Eskaya Community Immersion and Information Caravan, organized and hosted by the NCIP and joined by IOs from the Department of Agrarian Reform, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Philippine National Police, National irrigation Administration, Bureau of Fire Protection, PIA, Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Education and local government units.
“This is not a relief mission, this is helping make government work with its feed-forward, feed backing of communication so new polices can be crafted from programs and projects that need tweaking and that actually work in the communities,” explained Audio-Bohol president Maria Lydia Bantugan of DAR.
The community also proposed for the tourism development of Bud Cambatud; a hill that offers a 360 degrees view of the ancestral lands and nearby areas to distant mountains, bat caves that host thousands of bats, source of inorganic fertilizer for their farms and nesting site for swiftlets, as well as Lingganay Puti, a natural formation that allows the village an early warning system against calamities as it produces a ringing sound in the approaching bed weather.
While developing these sites entail funding, the law on indigenous people’s rights does not allow people other than the IPS to manage and possess the rights to operate their economic enterprise projects.
The Eskayas however have people’s organizations that could tap livelihood assistance from the DOLE, DTI and TESDA in terms of technical education and vocational training for their people.
The National Housing Authority has recently also announced its funding with a full counterpart of the LGU in nearby Duero for the Eskaya community in Taytay. (rahc/PIA_7/Bohol)