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4 tribes in Iriga benefit from 9ID’s multi-service caravan

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay


IRIGA CITY --- The 9th Infantry “Spear” Division, in collaboration with the 49th Infantry Battalion, Camp Elias Angeles Station Hospital (CEASH), the City Government of Iriga, and several organizations, operated a multi-service caravan that provided benefits and services to four tribes living at the Ilian Settlement in Brgy. San Nicolas, here, on April 10, Monday.


Members of Ilian, Catabog, Natabunan, and Rumbang tribes, all residing at the IP settlement received hygiene kits, assorted school supplies, slippers, and assorted toys from partner organizations. They also received legal assistance, veterinary services, and haircut free of charge.


More or less 200 children from indigenous people (IP) communities were treated to a day of fun and surprises, plus added entertainment performed by a clown courtesy of Magic Entertainment.


SM City Naga thru Mall Manager Jeanette De Vera, PAFCPIC- Pili Satellite Office Manager Maricel B. Gomeseria, and Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI), Inc. headed by Simon Dy as president, distributed slippers to 445 IPs.


The donors along with 9ID Assistant Division Commander BGen Jaime Abawag also handed assorted school supplies to 429 IP students; the office of G7, 9ID, Phil. Army, distributed 200 various toys to IP children and distributed calendars to the IP community while the 49th Infantry Battalion barbers extended their service to 68 male IP beneficiaries.


Through the Elite Maharlika Lady Eagles headed by Club President and MSAB member Atty. Annalyn Sherry F. Gamboa, 90 IP children were able to get hygiene kits. CEASH, on the other hand, conducted Operation Tuli which benefited 20 children.


The IPs also feasted on the food packs coming from the Mobile Kitchen courtesy of LGU Iriga which benefited 550 individuals; Goldwayne Comprada, JRP Indoor Shooting Range, and 49IB, also sponsored lunch to more or less 800 IP beneficiaries.


Not only the IPs have benefited from the 2-day event, Iriga City Veterinary Officer Dr. Virtudes N. Rayel together with the 9ID Vet clinic gave vitamins and anti-rabies vaccine to 53 dogs owned by IP residents in the Ilian Tribal settlement area.


Mayor Oliva disclosed his plan to convert the Don Lazaro Madara Memorial School, located near the Ilian settlement into a secondary school, exclusively for the IPs.


“I hope to realize the plan of creating an exclusive school for the IPs here, through the help of DepEd and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP). We really are giving high premium and value on our IPs. Apart from the promotion of their culture, heritage, and arts, we will also be establishing a wildlife park, a sort of agri-tourism park and will put a statue of the Risen Christ. This will form part of our tourism agenda that will generate job opportunities for the IPs,” Oliva said.


Oliva said that the IP Affairs Office was established to address the concerns of Indigenous Peoples residing in Iriga City. The office is in charge of looking into the plight of the IPs, particularly things that concern their overall well-being, ensure their access to basic services and facilities, and promote their general welfare.


Joint Task Force Bicolandia and 9ID Commander MGen Adonis Bajao expressed his gratitude to the IP communities and Iriga Mayor Wilfredo Rex Oliva for warmly welcoming the troops to their area. He also acknowledged the support of the Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (MSAB) members, specifically MSAB Chairman Msgr. Zosimo Sañado.


MGen Bajao said that Msgr. Sañado was instrumental in choosing the Ilian settlement as the recipient of the caravan, believing that MSAB should not only sit and discuss things in a four-cornered wall but rather complement it with services for the community. He also thanked the MSAB Chairman for his unwavering guidance to the Philippine Army.


The 9ID Commander also expressed gratitude to the event’s sponsors and donors for reaching out to the IP sector and bringing their services to the community. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)


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