KETSANA PROJECT AND NEW BEGINNINGS – Philippines
By Fr. Aris Miranda, MI
I arrived in Manila from Rome last July 9 (Friday) for my vacation. The following Sunday I went to Boso-Boso to concelebrate the Holy Mass at 9:00 in the morning. The church was jam-packed with people and well participated. Needless to say, that I missed so much this type of congregation. I saw with my naked eyes and experienced with my flesh and bones, how this community rejuvenated from the very beginning in the early nineties (‘90s).
After the mass, I was invited by an old-time friend and faithful community organizer Mr. Paul Santis to join an assembly of the different tribes of the “Dumagat”, one of the few remaining ethnic groups in the Philippines. This assembly happened to be a meeting of the various chieftains of the tribes, who are the direct beneficiaries of the Camillian Task Force’s (CTF) typhoon Ketsana relief and rehabilitation project through the initiative of CTF-Philippines under the care of Fr. Domingo Barawid, MI, the parish pastor.
The assembly was discussing already the next phase of the project which is the rehabilitation of their livelihood. The project is set to develop an agro-forestry and livestock demo farm program. This project is under the direct supervision of Kalingap Marikina Watershed Development Plan. They are now preparing a project proposal for a comprehensive trainer’s training program intended for the representatives of each tribe. This group will serve as the future trainer and implementor of the project. The rationale of the program is to build their capacities and augment their capabilities in order to move forward after the devastation that typhoon Ketsana brought about to their communities and to help prevent against future calamities. They believed that protecting the nature’s gift of God and developing it sustainably will be a way to further their growth towards full human development.
Through the CTF-Philippines, the devastation brought about by Ketsana, which is not only physical but also moral, the Dumagats found a new hope and a fresh start in their lives that strengthen and help them to discover more their inner strength and innate wisdom. Their communal life and sharing of their skills and capacities are all the more resuscitated. They are nature-loving people and engaged in a nomadic and backward farming endeavor at a less subsistent level. They envisioned becoming a model for others in the field of organic farming and as vanguards of nature.
With this initiative, they are hoping for more financial and moral support for this new venture in their lives. CTF-Philippines is showing more support and assistance to them towards their full empowerment and development.