THE TREK TO THE SUMMIT
As the clouds embraced the steep mountains of Godod, Zamboanga del Norte forming a ring of fog, national government agencies representatives arrived before the break of dawn on the 1st of August 2022 at the detachment site of Barangay Bunawan – all set to embark on a three-hour hike to reach its summit.
Each step felt different as it takes one from the cemented road to a mud-caked thoroughfare as one passes beside the foot of the mountain, across the deep forest into the very top.
Before reaching the summit, we were welcomed by the warm smiles of the people at the village known as Sitio Makinaryas of Barangay Bunawan. The place was filled with laughter and wails of children playing around while adults echo “Maayong Buntag!” greetings of the passersby.
At the summit, we reached Makinaryas Elementary School. Everyone was accommodated by Joseph Enderez, Head Teacher. He welcomed us and shared that the community is 100% Subanen and they live with no electricity. Only the school has a generator which needs to be fueled up every use.
Sitio Makinaryas, Brgy. Bunawan was one of the identified conflict-vulnerable areas under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The activity is part of the whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace.
The Serbisyo Caravan aims to bring government programs and services closer to the people in these conflict-stricken areas to lessen the influence of local communist groups.
Bunawan Barangay Captain Armando Balladares has been moving around looking for the rest of his constituents. People slowly filled up the venue to attend and participate in the Serbisyo Caravan. LGU Godod through the Rural Health Unit in partnership with Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Army (PA) spearheaded the Medical and Dental Mission, Operation Tuli and Libreng Gupit.
Men smiled with orange tints on their teeth locally known as ‘mama’ while women giggled as their gossip in Subanen. Small children lined up to get their nails cut as their hands are cleaned up for the Feeding Program.
Balladares expressed his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who exerted their efforts to come to their community. “Atong paminawon atong mga bisita nga naghatod sa programa ug serbisyo sa gobyerno aron atong masugpo ang kalisod diri sa atong lugar”, Balladares said.
LGU Mayor Abel Matildo, represented by Executive Assistant and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Manager Samuel Seronay, expressed his gratitude to all the agencies who attended the activity. He also shared that they are excited to witness the development in their municipality as the government has now reached this geographically isolated and disadvantaged area.
National Government Agency representatives from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Coconut Authority, Cooperative Development Authority, PNP and PA presented its programs and services during the Launching Program of TESDA’s NC II Training as well as Ceremonial Turn Over of DOST’s Gravity Type Spring Water System and PCA’s Distribution of Coconut Seedlings.
Joni Sarina R. Mejico, Labor and Employment Officer III, discussed DOLE’s Program and Services specifically DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program.
PLTCOL Alvin Saguban from the PNP expressed that this activity was a whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace. “Ang atong tumong mao ang matuldokan ang problema sa insurhensya aron mapulihan nato og kalambuan,” he said. (Joni Sarina R. Mejico, EDT/KCG)