The first tribal integrated school was formally turned over to teachers, students, and residents during a ceremony conducted in Sitio Side Four, Barangay Mangayon, Compostela Valley last Oct. 12.
2Lt. Berlin Gablan, the Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 66th Infantry battalion, said the event started with a ritual headed by Datu Serrano, the tribal chieftain of the Matigsalug tribe in Sitio Side four.
They offered pig and chicken’s blood as a tradition to appease the spirits. The women and children performed a tribal dance while the men played their musical instruments. It was followed by the blessing of the building and the ribbon-cutting, led by Vice Governor Maricar Zamora.
The Living Bayani Awards were given to 40 agencies, organizations, and barangay local government units for their invaluable time and effort in contributing to the construction of the school. Furthermore, all sponsors, corporation and individuals were also given certificates of recognition for their support all throughout the build.
Just like the other schools that were built in the province, the Mangayon Tribal Integrated School also has kusina ng kalinga, gulayan sa paaralan and the teacher’s cottage.
“The 22 high school students will no longer have to attend classes under the tent in the middle of the day, but now they have two furnished classrooms with chairs, illustration board, electricity and washing area,” Reuben Reponte, a representative of the Department of Education, said in a statement.
He also lauded the licensed teachers who will be assigned to the newly erected school: They are Dunhill Dayanan, Joy D. Valenzuela, Apple Jane Delo Santos and Imelda B. Nastor.
Zamora said, “Sitio Side Four has its name because in the past it would take four hours to reach it by land. Nowadays, Side Four stands with the major services it received: the road, the solar electricity, the water supply, and the free education.”
This is the fourth school constructed through the Bayanihan sa Paaralan Built 2019 program, with the goal of bridging government services to the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the province.
Brig. Gen. Manuel Sequitin, the commander of 701st Infantry Brigade, said, “It never fails to amaze me how the strong force of the NPAs in the past was dissolved by a united locality and a good governance,” Sequitin said.
“Let us not put to waste the sweat and tears of the people who contributed in building this school and let us use this as an opportunity to support the education of the youth and nurture peace and harmony in your place,” he added.
“You are a blessing to our people,” Datu Serano stated in his message. He added, “I am old and my years of experience made me intolerant from school; but our children are not. There is still hope for them and deserve proper education.”
Also,the volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross-Compostela valley chapter entertains the children with parlor games. As the event closes, everybody joins a unity dance and boodle fight for lunch as a symbol of camaraderie and equality.