Remote Mandaya Community Overwhelmed with Aid from President, SAP GoPosted on
CARAGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL (July 9) – Carrying heavily-loaded packs containing rice and other goods, the men, women, and children from Sitio Butay, the farthest sitio of Barangay Pichon in Caraga town, wore contagious smiles as they uttered words of thanks for the goods and food packs they received Saturday morning.
About 200 families received food packs containing six kilos of rice, eight cans of canned goods, and six sachets of coffee while some 260 school children received school supplies from the Office of the President through Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
Residents said they were overwhelmed of the aid provided to them which they described as an “enormous blessing”, adding that these goods were important given their community’s remote location.
With no other means of access to their community, the residents of Sitio Butay headed to the next sitio of Sangab on foot. Sitio Sangab, nestled atop another mountain facing Sito Butay and is the center of the 13 Pichon sitios (including Sitio Butay) that comprise the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT-01), is the nearest community from Butay with an accessible road.
Residents have started to hike as early as 1 o’clock in the morning, enduring the grueling seven to eight hours of trek through dense forest, muddy and steep, almost 90-degree downhill footpaths then crossing the perilous Caraga River aboard a makeshift cable car made of rattan only to scale, yet again to another extremely steep uphill hike to Sitio Sangab. This lengthy trek would be endured again by the residents upon returning home with their loads of goods.
Against the odds, the Mandaya community of Sitio Butay, with their fervent spirits filled with hope, was eager to reach Sitio Sangab anticipating not only the goods but also the good news coming from the Office of the President which was set to change their lives forever.
Editha Caduaya, publisher of online news agency Newsline.ph collaborated with the Office of the President and Office of Presidential Assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Provincial Government of Davao Oriental and 67th IB, to deliver the goods.
It is only the initial aid coming from the President through SAP Bong Go as they are set to conduct a medical mission by the end of the month. Given the difficulty in accessibility, volunteers and medical teams will be taken to Sitio Butay via helicopter.
Aside from the food packs and school supplies from the Office of the President, Go, Newsline.ph also donated a printer, various educational charts, visual aids and maps for Butay Integrated School.
Assistance came flooding into Sitio Butay after the Office of the President through SAP Bong Go was contacted by Newsline.ph about the “viral’ video posted on social media by Butay Integrated School Principal I Pablo Banabal, Jr.
The video showed the perilous mode of transportation the people endure on a daily basis. Aboard a “salay” – a makeshift cable car made of rattan, people cross the dangerous Caraga River, which in the past has already took several lives.
The Office of the President is eyeing on putting up the “Tulay ng Pangulo” (Presidential Bridge) as well as opening a road that will connect Sitio Butay to Sitio Sangab.
The department of Public Works and Highways is in the middle of the survey for the realization of the bridge which has been considered among priority projects of the Office of the President.
Robert Lagungan and Nico Matucol, pupils of Butay said they cannot describe their feelings “Lipay kaayo mi nga gitagaan mi ug notebooks ug uban pa ni President Duterte ug Sir Bong Go, wala mi nakatilaw ani nga regalo sauna (We are so happy, we are given notebooks and other supplies by President Duterte and sir Bong Go, we didn’t have these kind of gifts before.”
Butay tribal Datu Manuel Tanding Limpong, 53 said they did not expect the precious gift from the President and Go “I cannot describe my happiness, I cannot believe that we will receive all these blessings, this is an answered prayer from God.”
Like Nico and Robert, Limpong is also excited to see the bridge which the Office of the President committed to construct in the area.
CADT-01 Tribal Chieftain Christine Banugan said that the bridge, if realized, will be a dream-come-true to the people of Sitio Butay and the people in other nearby villages.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Government, which has a prior plan of putting up a tramline system to connect these communities to the nearest road network, was also delighted about the planned bridge project of the Office of the President.- By Karen Lou Deloso (PIO-DavOr)