Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

Indigenous communities in Mindanao to get better access to quality education

Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 9:00 AM

Indigenous communities in Mindanao to get better access to quality education
(From left) National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Undersecretary Atty. Roseller L. Barinaga, Community Technical College for Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. (CTCSMI) School Administrator Sofia Flor Garduce, NAPC Secretary Liza Maza, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Jimmy Bondoc and NAPC Undersecretary Ma. Corazon Jimenez-Tan show the signed memorandum of agreement between NAPC and CTCSMI.

Indigenous children and youth – particularly the Lumad communities in Mindanao – will now have better access to quality and community-based learning after the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) allocated P12.5 million for the PEACE Mindanao Project.

PEACE Mindanao, which stands for Poverty Eradication, Action and Community Education in Mindanao aims to “improve access to free and quality education of indigenous children and youth in unserved and underserved communities; improve the quality of basic education for indigenous children and youth; enhance capacities of teachers and school administrators; and sustain and strengthen institutions of Lumad schools.”

The funding for the PEACE Mindanao project came from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR’s) P50 million financial aid to NAPC in April 2017.

To ensure that these anti-poverty initiatives will reach the grassroots and indigenous communities, NAPC partnered with the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. (CTCSMI), the largest Lumad school in Maco, Compostela Valley. It offers pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high school as well as technical and vocational courses.

Among the   deliverables expected from the CTCSMI are the procurement of soft goods and services needed for the trainings; the capacity-building activities related to organic agriculture, health and other livelihood seminars; and policy advocacy activities including policy review workshops, distribution of information and education materials and dialogues with other government agencies.

According to NAPC Secretary Liza Maza, the PEACE Mindanao project already embodies six of the ten major advocacies of NAPC. Among these are education, food, healthy environment, health, peace and participation. “Through this project, which we consider a prototype, best practices on the ground can be enriched and replicated,” she said.

Maza added that they consider the programs of CTCSI as worthy of government support. “Pwede itong gawing ehemplo dahil tinutulungan nila ang mga indigenous communities na pagyamanin ang kanilang kultura at sariling learning systems. We also saw how some Lumad schools integrate agriculture in their learning systems. Napaka-yaman at napakalalim ng relasyon ng Lumad communities sa lupa. Sa pamamagitan ng proyektong ito, mabibigyan natin ng pag-asa ang mga batang Lumad. Mapapayaman pa nila ang mga  patakaran sa usapin ng kanilang kultura, buhay at komunidad,”  she explained.

PAGCOR’s VP for Corporate Social Responsibility Group Jimmy Bondoc meanwhile said that PAGCOR – being the third largest nation builder – must continue to support other agencies. “We must always co-exist. Our highest ideal is not to feed the poor because that is almost futile but to create a self-sustaining system which can only be done by innovative minds and through cooperation,” he shared.

CTCSI School Administrator Sofia Flor Garduce also expressed gratitude to PAGCOR for supporting NAPC’s prototype project. We join the NAPC in this prototype project because education in Lumad communities has been full of extreme challenges. We share in the belief that cultural minorities should enjoy the benefit of an agricultural Lumad school to help uplift their lives,” Garduce said.

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