Luna, Apayao—Nestled in the remote forested area at the outskirts of this capital town, Barangay Calayucay not only serves as a melting pot of Isnegs, Ilocanos, Aetas and yApayaos but also stands as a testament to the resilience and solidarity of community amidst challenges.

After a 40-minute long and winding boat ride on a local wooden motor banca, a team comprised of personnel and volunteers from the public and private sectors converged at the communal grounds of the barangay, which is situated along the banks of the Apayao-Abulug River at the tip of the boundary between Apayao and Pamplona, Cagayan.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD FO CAR), led by Regional Director Maria Atitiw Catbagan-Aplaten, spearheaded the outreach activity held on 01 to 02 June 2024, together with the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Office – Apayao, in partnership with the Provincial Local Government Unit (LGU) of Apayao through its Provincial Health Office (PHO), Municipal LGU of Luna, Barangay LGU of Calayucay, Calayucay Elementary School, Department of Health (DOH)-CAR, and stakeholders from the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Pink Women on Fire Corporation, St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP), Hapiyoh Mi, Steps Learning Academy, Foundever Baguio, Mountain Maid Training and Development Foundation Inc.- Good Shepherd Baguio. 

During the outreach activity, Dir. Aplaten led the distribution of over P200,000.00 worth of financial assistance under the DSWD’s Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) and the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to 73 households (10 under AKAP and 63 under AICS) as well as Family Food Packs to the beneficiaries. 

In view of achieving health objectives under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3, the community immersion was an opportunity to help address challenges in the community’s access to essential healthcare through the provision of free medical services and consultations as well as donation of medicine and medical supplies for the residents with the help of volunteer doctors and health care workers. 

Agyaman ak ta dakel naitulong da nga pagsay-atan iti uneg ti pamilya mi pati amin nga kabarangayan mi, (We are grateful for the big help to our family and even our barangay).” said Caroline Sawed Garan, 54, one of the resident-beneficiaries and a former member of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). 

Ket han kami makasubsubalit iti dakel nga tulong ti gobyerno. Han mi makasupsupapak iti adu nga tulong, naimbag ken dakel nga blessing nga inpaida iti uneg ti pamilya mi. Agyaman-ak nangnangrunan ti pagtanam mi nga mangilaklakad iti pagsay-atan mi, blessing nga agapu kenyayo. Nga makatulong iti panagbiyag wennu pinangpabasa mi kadagiti anak mi. (We cannot give back all the many assistance and blessings that has been given to us. We are especially thankful that we can use this for the schooling of our children.)” Garan added.

Naragsak kami iti tulong nga nagapu iti gobyerno na kas iti DSWD ken 4Ps ta isu met kasla katulungan mi nga nangipaadal kaditi anak ku, isu naka-turpus dyay duwa nga anak ku. (“We appreciate the assistance from the government especially through the DSWD and 4Ps which helped my two children in their schooling and graduate.”) said Myrna Sawat, 49, a long-time resident and whose family was a 4Ps recipient.

Meanwhile, children showcased their talents as they cheerfully rendered special presentations for the delegation and joined games facilitated by the volunteers. At twilight, locals and visitors alike gathered by the river banks near the area for a communal bonfire dinner, which included cultural presentations by the locals.

Punong Barangay Michelle Mangibunong acknowledged that the solar-powered lights and electricity have significantly been useful to the off-grid town. She said that solar panels have been installed as the source of power for the buildings, houses, classrooms, clinics, and the water system in the barangay, largely owing to a partnership with CSOs a few years ago.  

“For its part, DSWD FO CAR commits to continue working closely with local partners and stakeholders in its steadfast dedication to bring closer and more effective assistance and services to the communities it serves,” Dir. Aplaten said. #DSWD-CAR Social Marketing Unit –Christian Robert M. Sandoval, Information Officer II

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