Water Crucial to Xavier Ateneo’s proposed transfer of Aggie College to El Gaucho

July 25, 2019

This was one of the main concerns raised during a series of consultations held by the university with alumni of its College of Agriculture over the weekend. The Xavier Ateneo Board of Trustees and President’s Council is proposing to sell some of its properties in its downtown campus near Plaza Divisoria and the existing College of Agriculture Manresa Campus to finance the transfer of its main campus to the latter property. The project also calls for the development of two new central business districts by property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) in the downtown and uptown campuses. However, the deal could stall if a viable water supply could not be developed at the university’s 104-hectare El Gaucho property in the Bugo-Upper Puerto Area since all the further developments hinges on the transfer of its College of Agriculture to El Gaucho to enable the latter phases of the P9-Billion project to proceed. “The problem is water, it’s really a concern,” said Maria Rosario Mosqueda, dean of Xavier Ateneo’s College of Agriculture, “Perhaps that is where we can start land development, prioritizing crops, pasture and forage, because it is a real good area for dairy if we have the water.” “The problem with El Gaucho is water, or more specifically the lack of water,” said Vincent Yap, an alumnus who resides near the area. “The presence of whom we call the ‘Cariton People’ attests to this. They are residents whom you see regularly hitching their makeshift carts to trucks to haul water from downhill to their homes in El Gaucho.” “A lot of politicians have previously committed to help us address the water problem in this area but until now nothing has been done about it,” he added. “We hope Xavier Ateneo‘s project will be the catalyst to solve this problem”. Xavier Ateneo President Fr. Roberto C. Yap, S.J. said they are already aware of the problem and would have to address it once the project is cleared to proceed by Jesuit Fr. General Most. Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J. “We certainly need to develop EL Gaucho if will move our Manresa Campus there,” Yap, S.J. stressed in response. Meantime, CLI Chairman and CEO Jose R. Soberano III said they are already in talks with some property owners living close to Manresa to develop production wells near the Cagayan River for the proposed Campus of the Future with a target daily production volume of 25 Million Liters Daily (MLD). “We have a CLI subsidiary which is into water development which will help us out with this,” Soberano said. In the same consultation, a representative from the Cagayan de Oro City Water District expressed COWD’s willingness to work with Xavier and CLI to develop water sources for the proposed projects, especially since the West Service Area now only has a 60 MLD allocation from bulk water supplier Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. (COBI). “We can link up with COWD for our 25 MLD project, but if we can develop underground water sources there especially the down portion is a possibility, “Soberano noted. “We are now working on it and the proponent is currently working to secure water rights from the LGU and City Council.” However, Fr. Yap cautions that discussions of details such as these might still be premature considering the project is still in its conceptual stage. “I’m glad we’re going into much detail but we have to tell you we’re just at the first 10 percent of the planning,” he stressed. “We’re still in the conceptual stages and we don’t have the approval yet from Father General. This is not going to be our last consultation. If this is approved we will be meeting a lot with water, power and communications utilities; DPWH and the City Engineer’s Office for the roads and connectivity, because we would really like to work closely together and develop it into much detail.” “What we are seeing right now is a perspective, a concept, and the hard work will be coming once this gets approval. But I’m very enthusiastic and very glad to hear that the interest this project will generate as we come together as a Cagayan de Oro Community.” Not the least, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno, who attended all three consultations conducted over the weekend and last Monday, similarly expressed his enthusiasm for the project. “Probably nobody is more excited about this project than me,” Moreno, himself a Xavier Ateneo ’67 High School graduate, said. “Our water supply should be able to catch up with our growth. This Xavier Ateneo project is a game changer. This will change a lot of things here in Cagayan de Oro.”

Xavier Ateneo eyes new Aggies campus at El Gaucho

July 25, 2019

In a series of consultations conducted over the weekend, Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) stressed the need for a new main campus since its main campus downtown was already congested, experiencing increasing noise levels and at risk from floods. However, in order to establish a new main campus at its Manresa Campus currently home to its College of Agriculture, Xavier Ateneo has to sell portions of its downtown campus and a portion of Manresa Farm to underwrite the construction and transfer. Before the next phase of the Master Plan can proceed, the College of Agriculture facilities including its demonstration farms, workshops, field laboratories at Manresa have to be moved and upgraded to XU’s 104-hectare property at El Gaucho. In a briefing conducted last July 20 specifically for Aggies alumni, College of Agriculture Dean Maria Rosario Mosqueda explained that while El Gaucho campus would house the field laboratory for the College Agriculture, lectures and non-field laboratory classes would still be conducted at the new main campus proposed to be named Masterson Campus in honor of the late Jesuit visionary Fr. William Masterson SJ who foresaw the potential of Manresa in the 1960s. “We haven’t done detailed planning yet, but we hope by sharing this with you, you can also give us your suggestions and comment on what we have done so far,” Mosqueda said “We want to leverage the College of Agriculture in the Main (Manresa) Campus as a model for Urban Agriculture with some buildings having rooftop gardens, and other innovations which would make it a real model for Urban Agriculture,” she added. Mosqueda said Xavier Manresa would be guided by the following principles in developing El Gaucho: Contribution to the XU Mission, Vision and Development Goals (Academic Excellence, Holistic Formation, Global Competitiveness and Social Engagement); support for the college’s four-fold functions of Instruction, Research, Extension and Production; opportunity to improve the college of agriculture’s sustainability; harmony with existing community and the environment; working with available resources, and partnerships with Cagayan de Oro city and the private sector. “Hopefully we can really change the way we package Agriculture,” Mosqueda noted. “So we shouldn’t just focus on the farm, but also on the other parts of the supply chain, like develop new programs that can be attractive, and at the same time, mission-responsive.” Besides new and upgrade field laboratories, research and training facilities, farming system models (with LGU CDO and private sector partners), the El Gaucho Campus would also include a self-sustaining Agri-Eco Adventure and Wellness Resort and Convergence/Activity Park. As proposed under the initial concept presented by Mosqueda, 22 hectares of El Gaucho’s total of 64 allocated for the academic area (mainly plateau) and the Convergence Hub which will function as the campus activity center for theRodeo, Tabuan Center, and possibly a Bagsakan. Under its proposed 12-year timeline divided into four 3-year phases, developments will kick off in the six hectare first phase with the construction of road network and drainage; utilities (light and water); admin building for land development (coordinating team); living spaces for workers; bus acquisition; land acquisition, land development (crops, pasture and forage). “The problem is water, it’s really a concern,” Mosqueda noted. “Perhaps that is where we can start land development, prioritizing crops, pasture and forage, because it is a real good area for dairy if we have the water.” Next, structures such as a SEARSOLIN-like building to house offices, classrooms, accommodations, ancillary facilities and animal production would be established while road and water systems continue to be developed. “The Farming System Model Area would be devoted to partnerships with industry and private sector to allow students to use their facilities to conduct research, or partner with poultry firms to do feeding trials, and the like.|” The third phase would entail the development of other components (training facility, convergence hub); establishment of partner locators; and continuing road development. Finally the last phase would cover the 100% development of ‘academic areas’; and the establishment of the self-sustaining Agri-Eco Adventure and Wellness Resort. XU is considering moving most of its operations out from its 6-hectare main campus near Plaza Divisoria to provide a better learning environment for its college students. The planned Campus of the Future in its Manresa Campus will feature well-designed school buildings and administration facilities catering to several academic and technical courses such as Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Business & Management, Computer Studies, Education, Engineering, and Nursing. The campus will also be adaptable to future developments in academic disciplines and technological innovations. Main master plan elements include an abundance of open spaces and greeneries – a main plaza, interconnected courtyards, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and a University Forum which will incorporate a museum, theatre, and gallery. The state-of-the-art Manresa Town Campus of the Future will provide innovative spaces for learning, pioneering research, artistic expression, whole-person formation and experiencing excellence. The new main campus will retain the 25-hectare forest reserve in Manresa. It will be near XU’s 12-hectare basic education campus at Pueblo de Oro, allowing integration of campuses for greater efficiency and modernization. To finance the construction of the new campus, the proposed Master Plan envisions the sale of around 14 of the 63-hectare Manresa property to CLI. CLI plans to develop a township project (working name Manresa Town) which will integrate complementary commercial, residential, office, and leisure uses. XU is also proposing to sell around 4 of its 6-hectare property in Divisoria that CLI plans to develop into downtown CDO’s Central Business District (working name Xavier City), with XU’s Church of the Immaculate Conceptionat its heart. “We are not leaving Divisoria,” Yap stressed. “Xavier Ateneo will continue to be present in downtown Divisoria with the University Church and a redesigned campus for the XU School of Medicine, College of Law and most of its graduate programs.” Should the new campus project be approved by the Jesuit authorities, it is expected to be developed over an 8- to 10- year period.

Cenyu Whole Foods introduces Cuchara Verde

July 22, 2019

HEALTHY and homegrown. Ain’t that an ideal combination when it comes to dining? Yet there ís surely one resto in uptown CDO that fits exactly that description. Located at the west wing in the ground level of SM City Cagayan de Oro, Cuchara Verde serves healthy gourmet food that is sourced locally and responsibly.      Of course, we all know that Cuchara Verde means Green Spoon which loosely translates to clean eating. Indeed it is. All of the chicken and egg ingredients concocted at Cuchara Verde come from its sister company, Cenyu Whole Foods, which has been known to produce quality Probio Chicken & Eggs for the past ten years in this part of Northern Mindanao.      Cuchara Verde offers popular comfort foods you already know and love like Fried Chicken and Chickan Inasal as well as other non-chicken options like the Beef Taco Quesadilla (A Must Try!!!), Beef Kare Kare, Gambas Al Ajilio, Fresh Lumpia and Seafood Marinara Pasta. They also offer some unique eats that are sure to blow your mind like their Chicken Tikka Masala, Grass-Fed Lamb Stew, Creamy Spinach & Egg Skillet, Asian Quinoa Salad and Beef and Lamb Burger.      For desserts, they serve Superscoops Vegan Ice Cream, Fogcity Creamery Artisan Ice Cream, Picole healthy pops, Frozen Brazo and some occasional cakes and native desserts. For drinks, they got pour over brewed coffee with options for Don, Hazelnut or Moreno; as well as craft teas (creamy caramel, fitspiration, beauty sleep, chocolate rooibos, vanilla rose and sunset brew). They are the only restaurant to offer drinks like Zevia, Sparkling Water and other Zero Calorie and Zero Harmful Ingredient Drinks. They even serve Kombucha and Kefir, which they make in-house, to aid digestion after that healthy meal.      Cuchara Verde assures its valued dining clients that they serve only foods that have no preservatives, minimally processed, responsibly sourced and tapping local suppliers as much as possible. It is open during mall hours which is from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily.      Cuchara Verde takes its inspiration from Cenyu Whole Foods, a Whole Food Store & Cafe that sell Cenyu Probio Chicken and Eggs as well as other healthy and clean whole foods sourced from around the country.      Cenyu Probio Chicken and Eggs was founded ten years ago with a simple experimentation of replacing harmful antibiotics with beneficial probiotics to raise chickens. Probiotics has been proven through various research and studies to promote strong immunity, healthy gut and liver, excellent digestion and balance nutrition in raising chicken and eggs. Grown slower and harvested longer. It takes 38 to 45 days for Cenyu Probio Chicken to achieve a live weight of 1.5kg. Premium quality meat ia achieved naturally. Fed with responsibly sourced grains, legumes and supplemented daily with natural based vitamins and probiotics, Cenyu Probio Chicken and Eggs is, by far, the healthiest source of protein one can find.      Cenyu Whole Foods has a Flagship outlet along 9th-16th Streets in Nazareth, this city. Aside from its own brand and other selected products, Cenyu Whole Foods also serves breakfast such as The Big Breakfast Plate, Probio Chicken Longganisa Plate, Probio Chicken Adobo Flakes Plate,  Probio Roasted Chicken Plate and Probio Chicken Sandwich. These selections along with their Probio Chicken and Eggs are available for delivery daily through Streetby.      It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. all week from Monday to Sunday.

The Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors of Cugman

July 19, 2019

Sometimes serendipity can lead you to paths you never dreamed you would be passing through, but the future often holds surprises which more often than not, exceed your expectations. Thus, when Smart Telecommunications began the process to secure the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the Higaonon community in Sitio Malasag, Barangay Cugman in Cagayan de Oro to renew the lease on their cell site located within the tribe’s ancestral domain, it triggered what has turned out be a most rewarding experience for both parties involved in the transaction. By virtue of Republic Act 8371 (Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997  or IPRA) which recognizes and promotes the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, Smart was required to secure the consent of the IP community which hosted their 1,000 sq. m. cell site area since it falls within the tribe’s ancestral domain. Following the initial consultation last February, 2019 with the Malasag Higaonon Tribal Council represented by Datu Ireneo Jabiniar (tribal chieftain), Smart signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the renewal of the cell site lease for another 25 years. “As part of the terms and conditions, our council requested Smart to conduct a training in wood carving for our members, as a livelihood project,” said Datu Masikal “Jude” Jabiniar, who site as the appointed 9th kagawad representing IPs in the Cugman Barangay Council. Barangay Cugman has two rivers which provide them with a constant supply of driftwood as raw materials. More driftwood could also be sourced from the barangay’s seashore. After conducting appropriate rituals at the cell site area requesting permission from resident spirits to approve the agreement, 15 Higaonons started training with expert wood carvers Arnel Rebate, Wilfredo Durano and Marichu Calzado from the Banglos Community Artists of General Nakar, Quezon, last May 28-30 for basic skills and assignment of projects; then again on June 27 for finishing and polishing of the completed works. Smart also donated to the community tools such as grinders and sanders.  The Banglos wood sculptors were themselves recipients of Smart’s livelihood assistance, being trained by famed sculptor Rey Paz Contreras who taught them the art of sculpting forest wood as an alternative source of income after their homes were devastated by flash floods following heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Winnie in 2004, killing over a thousand people in  General Nakar, Infanta and Real.  The Banglos sculptors’ works have been featured at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Furniture Festival at Megatrade Hall, Go Negosyo fair at Market! Market! in Taguig City and in various Smart functions. The Higaonon artists were taught the basics of driftwood sculpture, how to use the tools of the trade, and how to bring out art from driftwood, based on its natural shape and textures. Aside from being a source of livelihood, the sculptures also aim to showcase Higaonon culture. "A lot of the pieces here have come from wood that no longer had any use - maybe only to be burned for charcoal. The artists have been taught to see the beauty in them and bring this out. We Filipinos, we thekatutubo, can also ask ourselves: "Are we charcoal, or are we works of art?"", said Darwin Flores, Head, Community Partnerships Department, Smart - Public Affairs.  One of those who underwent the training was Datu Masikal’s cousin Jeffrey  C. Alia, an industrial electrician by trade, who lives along the seashore of Cugman with his fisherman father. While he has no formal training in the arts, he learned drawing basics from his father Pedro B. Alia whose latent artistic skills enabled him to earn additional income through drawings and printed signs on the side. “I won artistic competitions as grade school student and did automotive drafting in high school but shifted to GRCO due to lack of financial means to finish my automotive,” Alia recalls. Eventually he became a licensed industrial electrician for commercial/industrial buildings, and joined the training during a lull between his projects. “The training revived my interest in the arts, and I was inspired to carve  many wood sculptures,” Alia said. Among the wood sculptures he finished was a  fisherman in his baroto (dugout canoe) inspired by the Recto Bank incident where a Filipino fishing vessel was rammed by a Chinese one. “This shows the fisherman was free to carry on his trade without fear,” Alia explained. Turning to another  of his works, he said the  bird’s nest signifies that birds are still abundant within their ancestral domain. “Every one of my works has a story.” From July 1-6, 2019, the Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors held the Malasag Sculpture Exhibit at the Sky Park at 5th floor of the SM Cagayan de Oro Downtown Premier in partnership with SM. A  constant partner of Smart for past projects like Earth Hour, SM  provided the exhibit venue, lights and fixtures for the group’s first exhibit. Next, the group plans to display some small sculptures at Ginama, the pasalubong center of LGU Cagayan de Oro at Gaston Park. “Smart plans to continue supporting the tribe by providing capacity building trainings such as social media marketing, mobile photography and ideography,” said Judee Dizon Chaves, Smart CommunicationsPublic Affairs Manager for North-West Mindanao.   Meantime, interested buyers who wish to commission or order some of their works can visit and contact them through their Facebook Page Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors of Cugman (URL: Photos by Mike Baños & Smart Communications Public Affairs for North-West Mindanao.

Images of the Souls of Culture

July 4, 2019

Perhaps no other single artist has exerted so great an influence in the development and growth of visual arts in Cagayan de Oro as Pennessencio “Nonoy” Estarte, a self-taught artist originally from Malangas, Zamboanga Sibugay. Noted Capitol University President Atty Casimiro Juarez, Jr. in his opening remarks during the exhibits June 21st opening:  “We want to acknowledge with gratitude the efforts of this beautiful person Nonoy, a friend of Dr. Fe Juarez and myself, and of Capitol University. Because of our friendship, we have learned to appreciate art more because of Nonoy, especially his kind of art which tends towards religion.” “Art is the only platform I know, where my ideas, vision, creativity and dreams are substantially expressed,” the artist said during opening. “The exhibit is not intended for argument, strict critical discourse, but is an art form the heart to the heart. I always love to see simple people, street kids, Lumads that appreciate my art. I want to see young students understand and value my art. I wish my art becomes an instrument for formation and transformation.” Nonoy was instrumental in the creation of programs for artists in Cagayan de Oro, foremost of which was the Oro Art Guild.  He also helped organize the Xavier University Circulo de Arte for students. Today, the visual arts is thriving not only in the city but its peripheries with new artists groups sprouting every now and anon, thanks largely to Nonoy’s efforts in promoting visual arts in nascent artists who became the seeds that spread his gospel to the four corners of the region. During his formative years, Nonoy was greatly influenced by a grade school teacher and further exposed to love art by an American Peace Corps Volunteer artist. In 1978, the late Fr. Frank Demetrio, S.J. took Nonoy under his wing as the resident artist of the Museo de Oro. Later, he became the Assistant Curator on files and records and eventually Assistant Museum Curator. During his long years of service in the museum, he immersed himself with the indigenous peoples of Mindanao like the Talaandig and Manobo. “This exhibit is a collection of illustrations during my long years of service to the university of Xavier to the present. Since then, folklore, history, environmentally indigenous communities became my passion.” “For 30 years in XU I had a great opportunity to work, interact with great people, like the late Fr. Francisco Demetrio, Dr. Erlinda Burton and John Burton, Tony and Joy Enriquez, and Lovenia Naces, and many others.” Fr Demetrio frequently sent him to attend conferences, workshops and lectures on Museum Development Projects, Art and other Museum Educational Programs. The artist has joined several group exhibitions locally and had some solo exhibits in Xavier University. His Manobo Epic Paintings were selected as part of the Philippine exhibition in Munich, Germany and Delf Museum in the Netherlands in 1987. “I was able to visit the far mountains in San Fernando, Lantapan, Bukidnon and Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur.  What did I do there? I witnessed various rituals, weddings, datuship rituals and peace ritual. I came to know better these ethno linguistic groups like Manobo, Higaonon, Talaandig, Matigsalog, Maranao, Maguindanao and Subanon. It was a great immersion in culture.” “Two of the personalities in my exhibit I came to know personally: the late Datu Kinulintang, Supreme Datu of the Talaandig; Datu Vic Saway, his son; Nanay Igbi, a Subanon Bae and musician.” Five years ago, he retired and currently runs the Estellar Art Space and Mini Library for artistically inclined youths at Xavier Heights in Uptown Cagayan de Oro. Together with Lovella Maria Naces and Ghela Simon, Nonoy helped set up the social enterprise Tao Tao Souvenirs which promotes the culture of the region’s indigenous peoples through souvenirs. “I was inspired by Dr. Burton who was very passionate about promotion and preservation of the IP culture and tradition. I saw that our knowledge about our own culture is on the verge of being forgotten,” Lovella recalls. She approached Nonoy with the idea of a social enterprise would teach the world about the Philippine indigenous communities through souvenirs. “Sir Nonoy was happy because he also shared the same advocacy of promoting and preserving IP culture.” Together with DepEd teacher Ghela Simon, the three cofounded Tao Tao Souvenirs. Lovella noted how Nonoy’s experience in the museum was a key to designing the product used by the community for the production of the souvenirs. Despite his long years as an artist, Nonoy only had one other exhibit outside XU in Ateneo de Zamboanga where his paintings on the Subanon epic were exhibited with bosom friend Nic Aca. “Allow me to thank the Big Guys behind this exhibit. Chief Curator Chris Curator, assisted by Nic Aca, our business manager Lovenia Naces Eduave, Boyet Ramoso, Edgar Daginotas and the Juarez family,” the artist said. Atty. Juarez ended his brief talk with a quote from the Lebanese-American artist, poet, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran masterpiece, The Prophet: “You give but little when you give of our possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” “Noy, you give so much of yourself and we could never thank you enough,” he concluded.

Kalahi CIDSS-CDD: IP women’s gateway to an empowered life

June 19, 2019

“Angga,” a 42-year old mother of five youngsters had always been an incredibly shy member of indigenous peoples (IPs). She never spoke and would shield her face when addressed during community meeting discussions. However, over time, she slowly opened up and became comfortable enough to speak up. “The thought that an IP woman has the voice in decision-making never crossed my mind. I thought that a ‘Lumad (ethnic minority)’ like me should think and speak less in any public assembly as I lack education and knowledge,” she said in ‘Binukid’ dialect. Angga is a Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) program beneficiary who lives in a farming neighborhood of barangay Palacpacan—an isolated village in San Fernando town—where most of the residents are of Matigsalug tribe. Like other tribes in Bukidnon, most of them have minimal support and nominal access to basic social services due to road inaccessibility, remote areas, poor infrastructure, or simply the fact that there is no system in place. With this, their only priority is to eat and survive.   Building better lives While life remains difficult, Angga said it was much harder during those years before the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) implemented the Kalahi-CIDSS Community-Driven Development (CDD) program. The DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS-CDD is a program that empowers communities.  It uses CDD as an approach to let communities identify problems, needs, use available resources, and decide what will work best for the entire community. CDD is a unique component of Kalahi-CIDSS. Through it, folks will learn how to speak out and give details of the communities’ needs by participating in the local development processes with the help of non-government organizations, local government units, Area Coordinating Teams (ACT), Sub-Regional Project Management Team (SRMPT), and Regional Project Management Team (RPMT) and ensure that the villagers are actively involved. Angga, who is also a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary, said the program is a good venue for boosting her self-confidence as it empowers her to make decisions, especially those that affect her social and economic living. “Now I can open my mouth to share my opinions and views without any fear of intimidation,” she said.   Changing the face of poverty         Jeraline Arion, is an active Matigsalug parent leader of 4Ps and Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) organizer who strives to help the community by helping the government in carrying out its duty to provide basic social services in remote Palacpacan village. She is also the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson (BSPMC) of Palacpacan, where the government implements a 390-meter road concreting project. For her, DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS-CDD is the first government program that gives her and the Lumad community the opportunity to make decisions that affect their daily living. The program is a good venue for learning different skills such as financial management, environmental and social safeguards, social development, construction management, basic legal documents, and other things that could help villagers, especially women, boost their confidence and self-reliance. In one of the sessions, however, participants disclosed that they hurdled all the training not without challenges. They encountered difficulties when they started out in drafting the Minutes of Meeting, Payroll Preparation, Payment and Inventory for construction materials and all other things needed to be submitted to the training facilitators. “We are all grateful that our facilitators were very patient in teaching us how to overcome such obstacles. We really felt that we belong. It is here that we, the Lumad women, can help change the face of poverty in our village,” Jeraline said.   Learning the skills to achieve economic independence “Being a Lumad Kalahi leader is not easy. We are not used to addressing a lot of people because we lack knowledge that is usually acquired in schools. An ethnic minority also leans on traditions that a woman should just stay at home, do the chores, and take care of the kids while her husband works in a farm as the sole provider of the family. But because of the meetings and training afforded by DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS-CDD and the implementation of our Farm-to-Market Road sub-project, I am now eager to harness my potential as valuable member of a Lumad community,” Jeraline said. This 390-meter road concreting sub-project construction program requires women workers to promote gender equality. Hence, 30 percent of the labor force are women.  Jeraline narrated that Kalahi-CIDSS proves that women can do what men can.  Inspired by the community empowerment and gender equality perspective of the Kalahi-CIDSS program where she learned life skills, she continued her schooling and graduated in the K-12 program of the Department of Education at Halapitan National High School in San Fernando. Now, Jeraline is a leader and role model in the community who helps Lumad women flourish and be part of nation-building.    Working effectively with indigenous communities Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, Jr, a retired general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said DSWD has myriad of programs for indigenous communities and this Kalahi-CIDSS-CDD is just one of those that helped women like Angga and Jeraline who gained emotional confidence and community support. “The Filipino practice of mutual cooperation or ‘Bayanihan’ is already embedded in the innermost of our being as Filipinos. This is more exemplified in the relentless contribution of our community volunteers in almost all facets of services to the poor and needy. Our staff and community volunteers on the ground have been our indispensable partners to the effective implementation of the Kalahi-CIDSS program,” the Secretary said.


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