By ALI G. MACABALANG
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is embarking on another life-enhancing program concerning tribal families living in far-flung areas seldom reached by government services. It called the new venture an “adopt-a-tribal family” project as a component of MinDA-initiated interventions in bringing Mindanao to greater heights.
In one of his latest online statements, MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol said his agency conceived the new venture after spending an episode of his “Beauty & Bounty of Mindanao” continuing tour in Davao region last week.
“I conceptualized the ‘Adopt-A-Family’ Program following our visit to Kapalong, Davao del Norte on Friday (Sept. 11) where government officials led by Gov. Jubahib, Cong. Pantaleon Alvarez, Kapalong Mayor Tess Timbol and Maj. Gen. Ruben Basiao of the 10th Infantry Division of the Army met with leaders of an isolated Ata-Manobo community in Barangay Gupitan,” Piñol said.
On the way back to the town, he said, their group stopped by the side of a newly-opened road to talk to a family living in a house made out of tree bark, bamboo slats and tarps as roofing.
He believed the family was among tribal people “dispossessed of their Ancestral Lands by large logging companies which virtually cleared the forests of centuries old trees many years ago (and) the tribal families now rely on farm chores to make a few hundred pesos for food.”
The pilot project involves the provincial government of Davao del Norte as a partner entity.
Under the program as proposed to Gov. Jubahib, “generous Filipino families will be asked to enter into a partnership with the provincial government in sponsoring one tribal family,” Piñol said.
He said the provincial government will provide each sponsored family with a pre-fabricated house worth P80,000 while the sponsoring family will be asked to provide a counterpart amount of P50,000 which will be used in providing the family with livelihood projects like free-range chicken, native pigs, vegetables seeds and planting materials of fruit trees.
The sponsoring families will also be asked to donate clothing and old household wares including school needs of young tribal children, he said.
The MinDA will assist in providing a profile of each sponsored family and a database to give sponsors updates on the progress of the families, he added.
“While there are government agencies which could provide support for this program, I have decided to present a concept which involves generous sponsors to show to these tribal families that they are cared for and loved by their fellow Filipinos,” the MinDA chief said.
Next week, MinDA will submit to Gov. Jubahib the blueprint of the “Adopt-A-Tribal Family” program for the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and subsequent implementation.
By next week, he said, MinDA will share the concept paper with governors of other Mindanao provinces with large tribal population and convince them to replicate the program, Pinol said in his statement titled “Caring for Forgotten Filipinos!” (AGM)