ARAKAN, North Cotabato – Two centenarians in separate remote indigenous villages here have availed of the late birth registration service offered by the provincial government through its “Barangayan Serbisyo Caravan” program.
James Labiano, the focal person of the “Serbisyo Caravan,” said Wednesday the program aims to bring government services to the periphery of the community, particularly the indigenous peoples (IPs), to provide access to government services.
On Tuesday, Apo Sabas, a 116-year-old member of the Bagobo Tagabawa-Matagsilog IP community, was able to process his birth registration through the personnel of the Municipal Civil Registry Office and the Philippine Statistics Authority who joined the service caravan.
He is one of the 191 residents who were able to process their birth certificates in Barangay Kulaman Valley, a former conflict-affect area, and one of the identified recipients of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) next year.
“This is proof that we met the purpose of driving this effort to far-flung villages to reach people with less access and capability in processing these basic services of the government,” Labiano said.
He added that Sabas, who was born on Dec. 16, 1904, is set to receive his first Philippine Statistics Authority authenticated birth registration next week.
Speaking in slow Tagabawa language, Sabas said: “As much as we wanted to go to the town center to register, but our limited knowledge and distance gave us the difficulty of processing our necessary (birth registration) documents.”
“But now I am happy for being a registered citizen” Sabas added as he thanked the government program.
Sabas and 121 Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) recipients also registered their names with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Around 104 IPs were given their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine following the thorough information campaign by local health authorities.
Last week, Labiano said Apo Andaiz, a 112-year-old resident of Barangay San Miguel, another ELCAC community, also processed his papers for late birth registration through the Serbisyo caravan.
He was also a recipient of various services extended by the caravan.
Andaiz was born on Nov. 13, 1909 in Barangay Tinanan, an Obo Manobo community in this town. He is a living witness to the events in the country at the start of the 19th century.
Relatives said during the World War II era, Apo Andaiz and other IP villagers survived by hunting wild boars and eating bounties of fruit-bearing trees in the forests.
ELCAC community beneficiaries
The villages of Kulaman Valley and San Miguel were once havens of communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels but were later declared insurgents-free after the military’s Community Support Program.
For one, the village leaders of Kulaman Valley recently proposed the construction of a PHP5-million potable water system and a PHP15-million farm-to-market road from the Barangay Development Program (BDP) fund of ELCAC for 2022.
The ELCAC is the whole-of-nation-approach in fighting the insurgency being waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front is by far the most comprehensive, potent, and lethal strategy ever conceptualized and launched by the national government against the five decades-old insurgency in the country.
It is embodied in Executive Order 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 20, 2018, that mandated the creation of the National Task Force (NTF) –ELCAC, and directed the adoption of a national peace framework. (PNA)