Residents of Sitio Dacutan, Bgy. Balatasan Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, try the water system during its inauguration on May 16. ###Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, DA-MIMAROPA
Clean water is one of the basic needs of every human being; it is used in a day to day life like drinking, cooking, cleaning, as well as sustaining livestock and crop production.
In Sitio Dacutan, Bgy. Balatasan Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, where a Hanunuo Mangyan community can be found, potable water is scarce in the area. They source their water from a spring which is 500 meters away from their sitio, resulting in poor sanitation and loss of their livelihood which is farming.
Due to a study conducted by three government employees who are under the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Master in Public Management, namely Engr. Maria Christine Inting and Marissa Vargaz both from Department of Agriculture-MIMAROPA (DA-MIMAROPA), and Engr. Edmichael Figoroa from Department of Environment and Natural Resources, this community was discovered.
Their study was a final requirement for their thesis in Rural Development Action Plan and Project where they chose a marginalized community in a rural area which they can train and worked with to improve the current situation of the community.
As a result of their study conducted through a series of coordination meetings and focus group discussions with the Mangyans residing in the area, the water system was among their most needed.
Through in coordination with DA-MIMAROPA, the facility was made possible. DA provided Php 469,997 to fund the project as one way to support the agricultural production of the community.
In May 16, the project was formally turned over to the community’s association which is the Samahan ng Pangkabuhayan ng mga Katutubong Mangyan. This association was formed as part of the assistance proposed by the three students. The association will be the one who will oversee all the interventions that will be given to them from different government agencies and non-government associations.
“Mahigit na 30 taon na akong lider sa grupo namin ngunit ngayon pa lang kami nagkaroon ng maayos na tubig. Kaya kaming mga katutubo ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa DA at kila Ma’am Tin (Christine), Ma’sm Marissa, Sir Ed (Edmichael) at Direct Gerundio (D Executive Director Antonio Gerundio). Sana po ay hindi kayo magsawang tumulong sa amin,” said Anaw Villegas, the chairman of the Hanunuo Mangyan in Sitio Dacutan.
Apart from providing water system and organizing the group’s association, the indigenous group was also trained about organic farming and received vermi technology, seeds, and garden tools from the DA as an additional livelihood. They will also be given three (3) carabao heads and assist them in marketing their vegetable produce.
DENR will also be training them about environmental protection and conservation management to restore the degrading natural resources in their area.
Furthermore, a Memorandum of Understanding was formed converging different government agencies to ensure the implementation of different rural development projects and programs in Sitio Dacutan. It is lead by the DA with Regional Agricultural Training Institute, Department of Labor Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Municipal Local Government of Bulalacao, the Barangay Local Government and DENR.