EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO TRIBAL COMMUNITIES IN RIZAL – QUEZON PROVINCE, LUZON.
In 1985, the philippino government of President Marcos started a huge project of a hydraulic power-factory with a megadike in the mountain-province of Quezon, municipality of Layban. In order to have enough mancraft, they forced some tribal communities to settle in three newly created villages. All the men worked in the Megadike-project but there was no social developpement (school, clinic, …).
When Dictator Marcos was overthrowed by the “People-Power” revolution in 1986, the whole project was cancelled. The tribal communities has lost their lifelihood and lived in a deep poverty.
In August 1997, a Japanese NGO, AKA, introduced in Layban by Japanese sisters, started a development program in the tribal communities. The Japanese worked there in partnership with a Philippine NGO, KOM, headed by a Philipino, Mr Kuya OMON. This man, also member of a tribal community, has worked many years in several NGO’s who are trying to save the particular culture of the tribes of the mountains.
B. DEVELOPPEMENT BY AGRICULTURE AND EDUCATION.
The whole project of AKA and KOM was based on the local needs: developing the agriculture in the mountains and creating a school in respect of the particular culture of the tribal communities. Most of the people in the mountains have three livelihoods: harvesting fruits in the forest, catching birds and agriculture.
The two NGO started an agriculture-school where about one hundred children have normal classes in the morning and agricultural training in the afternoon. A community-library was erected in 2003 and the school was recognized by the government in 2004.
C. ARRIVAL OF TIBERIADE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION INC.
In 2001, the Japanese sisters who introduced the Japanese NGO AKA, left the Philippines and they asked to the members of our NGO, Tiberiade Community Foundation Inc to continue some activities for the youth in Layban. For three years we organized youth-camps there with the children on the School during summer holiday.
Soon we observed that there was a structural problem: most of the children were not going to the school during the planting season. They have to sustain their only needs and help their parents. The school was supposed to produce enough food for the lunch of the children but it is not in reality. The Japanese NGO, AKA, stopped all financial help in January 2005.
D. 2004-2005 : LUNCH-PROGRAM OF TIBERIADE-PHILIPPINES NGO
In the years 2004-2005, Tiberiade-Philipines organized medical missions in Layban. Our Belgian doctors, doctor Bruno, Doctora Delphine, Doctora Florence, Doctora Chloe went in the place and held free medical consultations. He observed that some children really lack of balanced food. Together with the head of the school, Mr Kuya Omon, they found the solution: if we can offer to the children a lunch every day, they will attend the school totally regularly. If we buy all the food in the three villages, this will also boost the production of the agriculture of their parents.
E. 2006-2011 : AUTONOMY OF THE TRIBAL SCHOOL
As the tribal-school was recognized by the government, there was a true improvement in the programs of the school. The children were more regular and some graduated from elementary and entered in high-school. The school was on a good track, even without the Japanese or Belgian funding, as the government was taking his responsabilities.
F. 2011 : NEW DIFFICULTIES AND PERSPECTIVES
In the years, the main source of income of the mountain people was the illegal logging : cutting the tropical trees and sell them for export. Even though the law implemented strict regulations and authorization, the corruption inside the DNR (Department of Natural resources) made it that the deforestation was huge, giving income to the people. Karaoke and alcohol invaded the small huts of the three villages.
After his election, President Noynoy Aquino, implemented a total ban on logging, cutting at the same time the deforestation and the income of the villagers. During the medical mission of December 2010, we discovered the dramatic situation of our friends, suffering from very severe poverty. We alerted the municipal and diocesan authorities. In the months of December 2010 – January 2011 many children died from malnutrition and the whole population suffered famine.
In May 2011, after a meeting with the staff of the school of Layban in Talim Island, TCFI has promised to start a three years support-program for the tribal children. Our NGO will support the buying of school-supplies for the 45 children and re-start the lunch program for a total amount of 60.000 P/year (1.000,00 euro) and this for three school-years from 2011 to 2015. Every year, TCFI will visit the place three times and have an evaluation and follow up of the tribal-school.
All your help is most welcome ! You can send your support to our
Belgian account: 068-2323806-04 of Fraternité de Tibériade ASBL
with the mention: “Lunch-Program in Layban”.
If you need more info, please write to:
Fr Emmanuel, Tibériade,
Rue du Charnet 20