A tourism center established in the Davao del Norte town of Talaingod has been instrumental in giving opportunities to some 30 young Indigenous Peoples (IP) to acquire better education, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) said Wednesday.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Jose Eriel Niembra, the 10ID commander, said the TATAG IP Students Foundation Incorporated (TIPSF Inc.) supports the education of the 30 Ata-Manobo youth students through the TATAG IP Students Tourism Center in Talaingod town.
The center’s income provides for the educational requirements of 12 IP college and 18 IP high school students, including their day-to-day allowances and dormitory expenses.
“We vow to support the foundation and the IP students in achieving their dreams,” Niembra said.
The tourism center was inaugurated on Aug. 12 this year through the efforts of the Army’s 56th Infantry “TATAG” Battalion, the 10ID, and the 7th Air Reserve Center of the Philippine Air Force.
It is equipped with amenities such as a swimming pool, a function hall for 400 people, a restaurant for 200 guests, a souvenir shop selling local handicrafts, and five uniquely designed cottages named after Talaingod sitios – Sambulungan, Pongpong, Bagang, Peroy, and Nalubas.
The center operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Misiyang Dogiyon, an IP TATAG college scholar at the Kapalong College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, said she would be the first college graduate in her community once she completes her studies in two years.
“Before the foundation helped me, I had a mindset that what’s important for me is to learn how to read and write. But now, I am closer to my dreams and I will be given a chance to finish college with their help,” she said.
“They gave us school supplies and even laptops for our studies,” she added.
Maj. Mark Anthony Tito, the 10ID spokesperson, said the scholars were formerly handled by leftist groups that have known ties to the communist New People’s Army.
“They were rescued through the Balik Community Program of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade in 2021. This is the first batch, and we expect that there will be college graduates by 2025,” he said. (PNA)