Subanon Youths Host Feeding Program For Kids In Southern Philippines

November 6, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

A Subanon boy distributes hot cup of chicken porridge as other children pose for photograph; and inset, Jumel Gumamay, a beneficiary of medical mission of TVIRD in Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines. (Rene Patangan)

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Jumel Gumamay, an eight-year old Subanon native, rarely gets to taste poultry, meat, or fresh fish.

In the poor hinterland village of Tabayo in Siocon town where Jumel and his parents live, meals are often in the form of root crops or mashed green bananas, and on some occasions, dried fish. As a result, many local children aged two to 12 are malnourished or undernourished like Jumel.

But thanks to a newly formed group of teenagers and young adults who call themselves the Subanon Youth Organization, Jumel and some 500 children in and around their ancestral domain had the chance to enjoy several nourishing cupfuls of arroz caldo (chicken porridge) during the SYO feeding program that coincided with the International Youth Day celebration.

“Lami kaayo ang lugaw nga naay sagol nga manok. Hinaut unta nga sige nga naay in-ani nga arroz caldo (the porridge with chicken meat is so good. I wish that we will always have arroz caldo every day),” Jumel said happily as he sat with his second serving.

The night before the feeding program, SYO also sponsored a well-attended dance-for-all and fund-raising event dubbed “Pabayle sa Malusok” (dance party) to finance the group’s basketball court project, which SYO members hope will help promote youth development through sports and fight against substance abuse.

Employees of TVI Resource Development Philippines, Inc. helped raise funds for the SYO feeding program organized by Rocelle Magpayo, TVIRD Program Officer on Human Rights Initiatives, and Jaja Bangkas, Human Resources Officer, at the company’s corporate headquarters in Makati City. “This is really great. The Subanon youths want to make a difference, and we in TVIRD believe that these young people, given the motivation and support, can contribute a lot in effecting positive change in, and in achieving sustainable development for, their indigenous community,” Magpayo said.

TVIRD operates a gold-copper mine in Mount Canatuan in Siocon town under a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the Philippine government.

“Duyog sa among pagsaulog sa International Youth Day, mao ang paghatag sa pagpakabana dili lamang sa susama namo nga mga kabatan-onan apan lakip na niini ang mga kabataan sanglit sila ang sumusunod nga henerasyon. Angayan nato sila nga hatagan sa maayong pagtagad sama sa gihatag nato sa atong kaugalingon (Our celebration of the International Youth Day is not only limited to giving attention to our fellow Subanon youths but to children as well since they represent the next generation. We should take care of them as much as we take care of ourselves),” SYO President Regino Tumangkis told his peers.

SYO was formerly known as the Canatuan Youth Achievers (CYA), which was organized last year by the Green Earth Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GEMPCO), a consultancy group hired by TVIRD to assist in the implementation of its livelihood programs. CYA disbanded when GEMPCO’s contract with the company expired.

Shortly after TVIRD consolidated its Community Relations and Development Office (CReDO), the company encouraged former members of CYA to undergo leadership training and to participate in a summer youth camp in the hope of strengthening their leadership and organizational skills. The renewed vitality that SYO members have been exhibiting in recent months indicates bright prospects for young residents of Canatuan and nearby communities.

“Among dakong pasalamat ngadto sa TVIRD ug sa mga empleyado niini tungod sa gihatag niini nga suporta sa among organisasyon. Hinaut nga kini magapadayon pa. (Our deepest gratitude to TVIRD and its employees for the support they are giving to our organization. We hope that they will continue doing so),” Tumangkis said. (Rene Patangan)


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