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City opens dorm to bring IP kids closer to schools

THE CITY Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) on Thursday opened the Balay Pasilungan or Baley Helunganan dormitory for indigenous children in Barangay Datu Salumay, Marilog.

Thursday’s ceremony marked the soft opening of the project which aims to house children from indigenous tribes residing in remote areas and move them closer to the primary and secondary schools in Datu Salumay.

The Baley Helunganan currently houses 63 students. 

CSWDO head Julie Dayaday said with the dormitory, students will no longer have to walk as far as ten kilometers to go to school. Students will stay in the dormitory during weekends and go home for the weekends. 

Aside from free lodgings, the students will also be provided with rice and canned goods. 

Dayaday said parents are also partners in the program and urged to give whatever provisions they can afford for the children.

Kita mu-provide ta og mga bugas ug mga delata, ug kini partnership man ni ‘no sa mga ginikanan kung aduna sila’y mga lagutmon ug mga kamote didto o gulay ilang dad-on diri (We will provide rice and canned goods, and since this is a partnership with the parents if they have vegetables and sweet potatoes or vegetables they may bring here),” Dayaday said.

The program will also conduct communal activities to encourage students to take care of each other and foster a strong sense of community. Dayaday said the program, conceived by former Datu Salumay Barangay Captain Marlyn Uayan with the late CSWDO head Atty. Marlisa Gallo, is a testament to the spirit of unity among the national and local government, private partners, and stakeholders.

Diri napakita ang bayanihan spirit diri sa Davao kay wala gyud ni isa nga nibalibad na mutabang sa atong children na mupadayon sila sa pag-eskwela (This is where the bayanihan spirit of Davao was showcased because not one refused to help our children in pursuing their studies),” Dayaday said.

High school student Chilaybem Aandacao of the Matigsalug tribe said she used to walk over two hours from her house to get to Datu Salumay National High School.

Dako gyud kaayo ni’ng tabang kay naa pu’y libre nga pagkaon, wala na mi’y dal-on para muanhi diri kay libre na man tanan. Di na mi magbaktas kay duol na lang gyud. Sayo ra gyud mi mata, sayo ra mi muadto’g skwelahan— kana na lang gyud (This is really a big help because there is also free food, we don’t have to bring anything to come here because everything is free. We don’t have to walk so far anymore because it’s really close. We wake up early, we go to school early— that’s all),” Andacao said.

Mayor Sebastian Duterte, in his speech, said providing equal access to education and other basic needs in cities with expansive land areas such as Davao can be a big challenge; but one that the local government has already started to overcome.

He said other far-flung areas that have been cleared of conflict and insurgent forces are being studied and profiled for more programs such as the Balay Pasilungan.

The CSWDO is eyeing the replication of the project in Paquibato and other remote areas in the city.

Baley Helunganan was created in partnership with the Barangay Salumay government, Davao Light and Power Co., Inc., Department of Education—Schools Division of Davao City, McDonald’s Philippines, Davies Paints Phil., Inc., Don Antonio O. Floreindo Sr. Foundation Inc., Mars Agri Ventures and Commodities Inc., Davao Masonic Center, D’Paragon AA Corp., Silangan Multipurpose Cooperative, J Agro Traders Corp., Income Credit Cooperative, and Reyhans Glass and Aluminum.


Photo courtesy of Davao City Government 


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