A school building for primary school students was turned over to Barangay Tapak, Paquibato District on Aug. 27.
Lt. Col. Silas Transmontero, commander of the 89th Infantry Battalion, emphasized the importance of access to quality education by far-flung barangays. This is one of their strategies to free the poor communities from the influence of the New People’s Army.
He said that seeing very young kids trek barefoot for hours under the heat of the sun to reach the nearest school will move anybody.
The officer said these young kids are vulnerable to recruitment because they are not equipped with the skills to improve their lives.
The turnover was spearheaded by the 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander; 89th Infantry Battalion; Alma I. Tac-on, public schools district supervisor; Peace 911 headed by Roger Baay; Technical Education Skills and Development Authority; Paquibato District Agricultural Office; Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Also in attendance were Datu Benito Diano, tribal chieftain; Rolly G. Latawan, Tapak barangay chairman; and other officials.
In his message, Col. Nolasco Mempin, 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander, recognized the efforts of the battalion for the construction of the school building.
Roger Baay, focal person of Peace 911, read the message of Mayor Sara Duterte at the event. “Now that you have the school in your community, you wouldn’t have any more reason of not attending your classes, study hard and achieve your dreams,” the message read.
Sitios Mangani and Gatungon are one of the most remote hamlets of Davao City. The community has no school that caters to the needs of the mostly Lumads in the area. Transmontero said they personally witnessed how the kids braved the trek just to get a chance at life.
The school building was constructed through the sponsorship of Ulticon Builders Inc (UBI), which gave the construction materials; the city government for the tables and chairs; and the Peace 911 and DepEd for the availability of teachers.
The Gatungon Primary School is now officially open to provide instruction as well as motivation to students since the school is now just steps away from their household. As a token of their gratitude to the 89th IB, the community plans to rename the school as the Makatao Primary School.