"Para sa aking kaibigang Mangyan - Siya naman."
Born and raised in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, I am aware of how our friends from the IP community need to be prioritized.
During my college years back in 2010, I made a documentary about the Mangyan tribe in my hometown, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. As a requirement for my Development studies subject, I, along with my supportive family and friends, visited two Mangyan communities (i.e., Alangan tribe at Turawan and Macambang) in Sablayan. We spent weeks interviewing and interacting with them to understand their situation, assess their immediate needs, and propose ways to improve their lives and way of life.
At that time, it was easy to just oversimplify their case, and say, 'they are trapped in poverty!'. My pessimistic line of thinking was rationale and logical. They had no access to potable water; around ten families were living in one [barong-barong] house; many, if not all, could neither read nor write; they had no consistent source of income; their community is far from public schools and hospitals/health facilities; at that time, they were not represented in LGU gatherings. From these observations and interactions, all of their basic needs were not adequately met. Every visit we made, we noticed that othey had no food on their table. Oh wait -- they don't even have tables! What's worse was numerous members of the tribe died due to common illnesses that could've been easily prevented or cured.
I PROMISED THESE COMMUNITIES THAT I WILL COME BACK TO GET ASSISTANCE.
By the way, my teacher gave me a high score in the documentary project. I acknowledged that without THE HELP AND TIME OF THE MANGYANS, I would not have passed that class.
It's now 2018, and I am ashamed that I have not returned to fulfill my promise. I have NOT PROVIDED ASSISTANCE AND TIME to help them move forward.
So here I am keeping my word. It might be eight years late, but I know they still need help.
THEY ARE TRAPPED IN POVERTY. BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BE. It does not have be their fate.
I propose two interconnected solutions:
1. They need INTERVENTION from the government, churches, NGOs, private sector, foundations, associations, etc.
They need an intervention from you and I.
Where will our empathy take us?
Perhaps a group of friends CAN pool resources to build infrastructure (i.e., bathrooms, classroom/school, road, street light, power generator, etc.) that will yield benefits in the long run.
No matter how small, your help will go a long way. It will be felt.
If your group (e.g., OFW group, professional association, barkada, family, church group, business, etc.) would like to intervene, we can partner with you. Please send an email to [email protected].
2. It is time that they get ACCESS TO EDUCATION.
The adage "Education is the great equalizer." holds truth up to today. The kids from Mangyan tribes are eager to study in school. However, they do not have the necessities such as school uniforms, shoes, bags, and supplies. If these kids do not finish school, we will keep on witnessing this never-ending cycle of poverty trap.
School will start again in August. We have ample time to raise funds to help Mangyan kids cut this grim cycle.
For every PHP 1,500 that we collect, one Mangyan kid will be provided with a complete set of uniform, school bag and supplies, a pair of black shoes and rain boots, and umbrella.
Of course, you may give any amount.
We often help the people we know - our family and friends.
But this time, we are encouraging you to help he or she who does not have a name--someone outside your circle.
Siya naman - Ang ating kaibigang Mangyan.