By: Anelean Amor B. Manontong, IDO-A, Davao del Sur IMO

          Davao del Sur. On February 5, 2020, NIA XI Regional Manager Jimmy L. Apostol and his team led by Supervising Engineer Ryan G. Pichon of the Planning and Design Section of NIA Regional Office XI; Senior Engineer Gil G. Valdez and Institutional Development Officer Analean Amor B. Manongtong of the Davao del Sur IMO with Peter Humes, Project Manager of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) who upon its request conducted a site investigation and site validation at Sitio Lafla, Barangay Kimlawes, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

          On board a helicopter, the team departed at the Davao International Airport at 10:25am and arrived at the area 10:40am as the proposed site is not accessible to vehicles.  Horses and Carabaos are the only means to reach the proposed site.

          RIM Apostol and Peter Humes conducted a dialogue and courtesy call to Datu Flao Saluli, the Tribal Vice Chieftain where they explained the purpose of travel as well as matters pertaining to the proposed irrigation project.

          Since 2014, the residents in the area have been longing for government projects and interventions on their needs that they felt forgotten and believed that many of them could not land a good job due to lack of educational attainment. 

          Sitio Lafla is under Ancestral Domain CADT-102 and 100% Bilaan Tribe Community.  There is not supply of water and electricity.  Residents dwell on Bahay Kubo without toilets.  Main crops are coconuts, corn, coffee, durian and jackfruits but they could not market their products due to lack of transportation and farm to market roads.

          The indigenous peoples (IP) community requests SMI and NIA to help the improvement of their roads and make interventions to lift up their socio economic status and way of living.