Days before classes officially started this school year, the Department of Science and Technology Region XI went to Sitio Upian Elementary School in Davao City’s Marilog District to distribute school supplies and hygiene kits to the Lumad students.

“Kulang ang isang araw para dito. Gusto man namin na lahat kami makasama pero walang sasakyan (One day is not enough for this. We wanted that all of us could be here but there’s no vehicle),” said Eduardo P. Tesorero, Assistant Regional Director for Financial Administrative Services Division, who spoke on behalf of 16 DOST XI employees who helped in the outreach program.

The DOST XI staff organized games and fun activities for the children. They also taught them how to wash their hands properly. At the end of the program, they distributed lunch packs to the hungry but happy children.

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Students were eager to pose for the camera with their new school supplies.

“Nalipay kami sa inyong gihatag (We are happy with what you have given us),” said Jerry Sulutan, a Grade 5 student.

His 23-year old cousin who accompanied him, Cheryl Langhi, added “Hinaot nga makabalik mo kay may nalang malipay ang mga bata (I am hoping that you could come back so that the children would be happy)”

Likewise, the teachers of the Sitio Upian Elementary School who were present in the activity also expressed their gratitude.

“In my three years of teaching diri nga skwelahan, lisod nga magtudlo sa ilaha nga wala’y sulod ilang tiyan. 9 or 10 palang sa buntag, murag nadaot na ilang mga dagway, (In my three years of teaching in this school, it is difficult to teach students with their empty stomachs. As early as 9 or 10 in the morning, they already have wry and dull faces)” said Elmer Garcia, a Grade 4 teacher.

“That’s why kanang gipangbuhat ninyo karon, dako ni siya nga tabang (What you have done today is already a big help), he added.

Every year, DOST XI visits Marilog District to monitor their projects. Aside from monitoring, the department also conducts outreach programs for the Lumad community.

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DOST XI employees, the staff of Kinaiyahan Foundation, and students teachers of Sitio Upian Elementary School pose for a groupie.

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