The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), along with three national government agencies and the local government of Davao del Norte, will lead the launching of the “Adopt-a-Tribal Family” Program in the hinterland village of Barangay Gupitan in Kapalong town on October 12.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said at least 150 families from the far-flung tribal village will be the first beneficiaries of the program that aims to provide decent homes, sustainable livelihood projects, education for the children, and basic services.
“The launching of the “Adopt-a-Tribal Family” Program, which was conceptualized and designed by MinDA, comes less than a month after the first engagement between MinDA officials and members of the Ata-Manobo community which was never served by government and called the ‘lost tribe’,” he said.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña, Indigenous People’s Commission Secretary Allen Capuyan, and local government officials of Davao del Norte will grace the launching, he said.
During the launching, Piñol said initial assistance will be given to the beneficiaries, which will include farm tools and seeds, as well as food supplies and clothes.
“The private sector, including big corporations, are expected to join the program by adopting tribal families. The program of reaching out and caring for marginalized and neglected tribal families is planned to be replicated in other areas in Mindanao,” Piñol said.
He recounted that the so-called “lost tribe” was discovered by a Philippine Army patrol team last year deep in the forests bordering Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Bukidnon while pursuing communist rebels.
At the time of the discovery, he said the tribe was controlled by the New People’s Army (NPA).
Piñol said many of the houses in the village were made out of round timber and tree barks and there was no semblance of government presence in the area–not even a school.
“Only able-bodied men of the village served the community’s link to the outside world and this happened only when they walk through the forests for two days carrying 15 to 30 kilos of abaca fiber on their backs and coming back with salt, sugar, tobacco, and rice,” the MinDA chief said.
Source: Philippines News Agency