Overwhelming services for the poor  

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang. ( Davao Oriental PIO)
Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang. ( Davao Oriental PIO)

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang overwhelms at least three thousand villagers in this town with practically all kinds of government services as he brought along with him personnel from all government agencies to render much-needed services for the highly-impoverished farming communities in the province.

The latest recipient of the governor’s flagship program, Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan, is the farming village of Don Mariano Marcos.“What an overwhelming services from the government. This is the first time our village was overwhelmed with so much services from the government. Every one of us here is so happy. We are just poor farmers, and the government makes us feel special with these overwhelming services,” says 71-year-old farmer Mariano Jose.

Pooling resources of various agencies and offices, the fourth outreach caravan held on February 7, 2017 has benefitted at least 3,000 residents in Barangay Don Mariano Marcos in Lupon town. Marianita Iwican, 30, a resident of Sitio San Jose, said she was “extremely happy” with the conduct of the outreach caravan as this was the first time that it happened in their village. “It saved us time and money as we don’t have to travel to the city just to avail of these free services,” says Iwican who had her son undergo a medical checkup and availed free medicines, school supplies, and food packs. Villagers say the sight of hundreds of government personnel arriving to their hinterland village to deliver different kinds of free services is “heart-warming” that “brings us closer to the government”, noting that their village, being a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area, has long been vulnerable to a long-running Communist insurgency.

Twenty-two national government agencies and provincial government offices have participated in the latest conduct of outreach caravan, bringing with them various services ranging from free medical checkups and dental services, distribution of food packs and school supplies, legal consultations, provision of seedlings, and conduct of lectures on various government programs, disaster preparedness and climate change, among many others.

Various subprojects were also turned over to the barangay, including a Double-Barrel Box Culvert from the Department of Social Welfare and Development under its Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Program- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Service. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has turned over a small water impounding system providing villagers sufficient access to water.

In support to agriculture, the Department of Agriculture turned over to farmer beneficiaries some 1,000 coffee seedlings, 1,000 cacao seedlings, 100 packs of vegetable seeds, 20 kilos of peanut seeds, and 10 kilos mongo seeds. The Provincial Agriculture Office through the DA also turned over some 20,000 cacao seedlings, 100 bags of corn seeds, and 200 packs of vegetable seeds. The Philippine Coconut Authority turned over 60 bags of salt fertilizers.

Since December 2016, the outreach caravan has already benefitted at least 11,000 residents, including those in the village of Don Mariano Marcos.

The Philippine Army, who serves as one of the main partners in the implementation of the Outreach Caravan, says their forces will continue to serve as a bridge to communicate the people’s needs to the government.

Newly installed Brigade Commander of the 701st Brigade of the Philippine Army, Col. Reuben Basiao, said the caravan manifests the genuine desire of the government to promote peace in the communities.

Basiao said, however, that peace is a ‘two-way effort’ as it needs complementation of efforts between the government and the people. “For us to attain a sustainable peace and security, the Philippine Army urge the people to cooperate with the authorities, not only with the military but also the police,” he said. He urged the people not to fear the military as they are true to their mandate of protecting the people and backing up the government in addressing social issues at the community.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who initiated the program, has asked for the residents’ support to the government’s effort towards peace. “Our presence here gives a clear message on our intention to reach out and touch lives. We are all from the same province and whatever conflict that would erupt here will affect all of us, especially the poor. So, there’s no reason that we become divided or yet become the cause of strife and division,” he said. “We are all Filipinos. Wouldn’t it be better if we all just get along? All of us want peace and it is my dream as well that someday we may finally achieve the peace that we have so-long desired,” he added.

Aside from promoting peace in the communities, particularly those that belong to the geographically isolated and depressed areas with marginalized population, the caravan also promotes good governance practices among local government units and agencies. (Karen Lou Deloso, PIO DavOr)