DAVAO ORIENTAL – In its bid to continuously make government services accessible to the poor, the Provincial Government recently conducted its regular Outreach Caravan, reaching out to some 3,000 residents in the village of Calapagan in Lupon town on Monday, December 19, 2016.
Dubbed as Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan, Monday’s activity saw the partnership of all stakeholders in bringing services ranging from medical checkups and dental services, distribution of food packs and school supplies, legal consultations, provision of seedlings, and conduct of lectures on various important social issues, among many others.
Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, who pushed for the realization of the program, says the caravan hopes to make the government’s presence felt by the people by mobilizing government resources in order to bring services and goods directly to the communities – a commitment he shares with the national government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte whose main thrust is to provide services straight to the people.
Banking on the collaboration of all sectors, Governor Dayanghirang expressed his gratitude to the participating agencies, especially to the Philippine Army who has a firm grasp and understanding of the plight of the people in the hinterlands through the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP). Immersing their troops to the communities, the military conducts a Needs Assessment Survey to identify the people’s priority concerns that need to be urgently addressed.
Cultivating a culture of peace and development, the Provincial Government-initiated Outreach Caravan is the local leadership’s way of supporting the ongoing peace talks between the government and the insurgent groups. It was designed to bridge the gaps and cross boundaries that would ultimately shape long-term peace especially those in geographically isolated and depressed areas.
Lt. Col. Ramon P. Zagala, Commander of the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army said the Outreach Caravan’s way of answering the needs of the community shows that there is always a solution to any conflict. “Revolution and using armed struggle is never the answer,” he said, noting that the Whole-of-Government Approach as the primary strategy of the program, which saw the broadened collaboration of all departments and partner agencies, as an effective tool to bring people together to achieve unity of effort toward a shared goal.
Meanwhile, PSSUPT Harry Espela, Provincial Director of the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office, called on the residents during the caravan to support the government’s fight against illegal drugs. He urged residents to raise awareness on identifying drug users in order to help them go through rehabilitation. “Drugs are one of the main culprits behind most crimes,” he said, saying people under its influence must be able to get immediate intervention not only to help them lead a better life but also to help secure a drug-free community for the younger generations who might become prey to the menace of illegal drugs.
Local residents extended their gratitude to the agencies that came to their village. “It’s like an early Christmas present for us,” said one of the residents. Dionisio Intig, 62, said he was overwhelmed by all of the services that came to his village. “It’s the first time that an outreach caravan was held here,” he said, noting this activity has a huge impact in terms of the peace and order in their locality.
While the program primarily addresses short-term needs, the Provincial Government is working to address the communities’ long-term requirements, particularly in the implementation of more development projects in the communities touted to eradicate poverty and improve their socio-economic conditions.
A total of 26 participating agencies have pooled their resources during the conduct of the recent outreach caravan.
The Provincial Health Office has offered medical and eye checkup, dental services, and provided free medicines. The Local Government Unit of Lupon offered reading eyeglasses.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and its provincial counterpart provided food packs and distributed school supplies.
The Department of Interior and Local Government and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office conducted lectures on disaster preparedness. The DILG also conducted orientation on its program Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (Masa Masid).
Aside from providing security, the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office has provided free haircut, hygiene kits, and school supplies.
The Provincial Veterinarian’s Office conducted Animal Health Consultation, deworming of livestock, vitamin supplementation and rabies vaccination to pets. The Department of Agrarian Reform enrolled qualified residents to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation and conducted free legal consultations, particularly on land tenure.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has distributed various tree seedlings and conducted information drive on forest protection.
The Philippine Coconut Authority dispersed 10,000 coffee seedlings while the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority conducted technical advisory on abaca.
The Land Transportation Office conducted information drive on traffic law enforcement, motor vehicle registration, and issuance of driver’s license and student permits.
The Provincial Agriculture Office turned over 10,000 cacao seedlings, 200 vegetable seed packs, and 50 bags of corn seeds. The Department of Agriculture also distributed seedlings of various crops and fruit trees while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) dispersed 20,000 tilapia fingerlings.
The Philippine Army spearheaded the provision of security for the whole duration of the activity as well as transportation of people to the activity area. By Karen Lou Deloso, Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan