By Lilibeth A. French
“Gapasalamat gid ako kay nataw-an man kami it pagdangop kang aton gobyerno. First time diya nga natabo nga klase kang aktibidades sa amon barangay (I am thankful that we were given attention by our government. This is the first time that such an activity was held in our barangay).”
These were the words of gratitude expressed by Alejo Capio, tribal chieftain of Boloc Community, during the “Abot Kamay Alagang NCIP Laban sa Covid 19” held on May 20, 2020 in Tubungan, Iloilo.
“Abot Kamay Alagang NCIP Laban sa COVID 19” is a convergence initiative of national government agencies and local government units spearheaded by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Around 105 Panay-Bukidnon households in Boloc, an Indigenous People’s community, received food packs during the convergence activity.
NCIP-Iloilo/Guimaras Community Service Center OIC Agnes Coronado said the initiative intends to help the poor and vulnerable communities in the province of Iloilo amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic.
“It started when NCIP employees contributed in their own small ways to extend help to our IP communities during these trying times,” said Coronado.
Later, she said they found partners who are willing to support their initiative such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 6, Philippine Army and concerned LGU.
DSWD 6 provided the family food packs.
Aside from the food packs, 21 IPs were served through the medical consultation held for sick IPs in the community during the activity.
Also, a short lecture was conducted and IEC materials were distributed to raise the awareness of the community on COVID 19.
As precaution against the COVID 19, a demonstration on proper hand washing and wearing of masks was done.
Attendees were likewise provided updates on the programs and services of the government which they can avail of and an orientation on IP Rights.
Coronado said three more IP communities in the town benefited from the convergence initiative on Friday, May 22.
These communities are located in the villages of Igtuble, Igpaho and Molina.
Mayor Roquito Tacsagon and Emelyn Tano, the town’s Municipal Indigenous People Focal Person, recognized the efforts of NCIP, DSWD and other partners for reaching out to their “tumandoks” when the country is in health crisis.
“It is very inspiring to know that there are organizations who never ceased to contribute and are one with us in finding means to lessen the impact of the crisis to our constituents especially to our IP barangays situated in mountainous areas,” said Tacsagon.
Boloc is included in the list of insurgency affected villages in the province. (PIA)