HUNDREDS of B’laan tribesmen in Matanao, Davao del Sur thanked the Police Regional Office 11 and the Philippine Army for building them comfort rooms and a storage system that will ensure their proper hygiene and sanitation and supply of precious water.
The new facilities were officially turned over to members of the B’laan community in Bgy. Site, Dongan Pekong in Matanao during ceremonies led by PRO11 Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Colonel Edgar Alan Okubo.
Matanao Vice Mayor Alfredo Panerio, Bgy. Site chairman Rodulfo Lauda and parish priest, Fr. Consorcio Lopez were among those who personally thanked the PRO11 and the Army’s 39thInfantry Battalion headed by Lieutenant Col. Geoffrey Carandang for their worthy project.
PRO11 director, Brigadier General Filmore B. Escobal said members of the PRO11 Revitalized-Pulis Sa Barangay or R-PSB led by Lieutenants Neil Jamila and Shiela May Pansoy conceptualized the project after observing the lack of toilets and water storage facility by the village folks after nearly four months of mingling with them.
With the help of the Army’s 39th IB and the Metrobank PROTECT or Police Officers Responsible for Organizing, Transforming and Empowering Communities, Lt. Pansoy, herself one of the Metrobank’s 2017 Outstanding Filipino awardees launched the project.
Escobal said that after four months of deployment in the area as part of their efforts to organize, transform and empower communities in so-called Geographically-Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas usually being taken advantage of by the New People’s Army, the policemen learned of the sanitation woes of the villagers as well as their lack of water.
“My men found out that the whole community composed of 74 households have no toilets and immediate source of water, thus the birth of the project,” said the Southern Mindanao police director.
Escobal said that with support from local government units and other stakeholders, the R-PSB members envisioned to build a 4-rooom toilet with water storage and shower system to solve the long predicament of the people in the area.
The project started after the Matanao municipal government provided sand and iron bars while the office of Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa donated toilet bowls and other bathroom fixtures.
Soldiers and policemen in the area also dipped into their own pockets to procure lacking materials. As a result, the project was completed in a month-time thru the ‘Bayanihan’ spirit wherein the security troops were joined by members of the community in building the facilities.
“It was a labor of love with members of the B’laan tribe, some of them former members or sympathizers of the NPA contributing to the good cause,” said Escobal.
Okubo said he was elated with the support they are getting from their military counterparts, LGUs and the local community. He also thanked Fr. Lopez for making a pledge to help install an additional shower room in the area.