KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Aug 3 (PIA) - "Pasalamat kami lahat, bawat isa sa amin." (We are all thankful, everyone of us.)
This is how 70-year old Mapalo Dudim replied when asked of his reaction to the upcoming energization of Sitio Blit in Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu through Project TALA (TESDA Alay ay Liwanag at Asenso) of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) XII.
"Simula sa pagkatao ko noong April 4, 1950 hanggang ngayon wala pa. Dito na ako pinanganak," he replied to the question whether had he lived in a house with any form of electricity.
(From the time I was born on April 4, 1950 until now, I have not [lived in a house with electricity].
Before him, his parents had lived in the same area for an undetermined period, which he estimated to be more than a decade, suggesting that for at least 80 years residents of Sitio Blit, one of the remotest of the 52 subvillages of Barangay Ned, had to depend on gas lamps and other traditional means to bring light to their homes at night.
(Just recently, Sitio Blit Elementary School installed a solar power system).
Last week, TESDA XII led by Regional Director Rafael Abrogar II officially introduced Project TALA to the community in Sitio Blit.
Director Abrogar told Philippine Information Agency XII that through Project TALA, initially 50 residents representing same number of households will be trained in Photovoltaic System Installation NC II.
"Trainees will be provided with all the materials and resources to learn skills required to install photovoltaic system. Through the training and the materials TESDA will provide, the participants shall install photovoltaic systems in their own homes," Abrogar said.
"With the skills learned, they could later make photovoltaic system installation as a livelihood," he added.
Actual training can start in August once all materials are delivered. A TESDA trainor will stay at Sitio Blit in the entire training period.
During the 14-day training, they will be provided with a complete PV system module consisting of a solar panel, a solar charge control, two 3-watt direct current bulb, a deep-cycle battery, and wiring accessories.
Each participant will also receive an allowance of P160 per day of training.
In response to the government aid to his community, sitio leader Dolec Dudim said that his village is now enjoying services from the government.
"Grabi gid ang kalipay namo kay umpisa sadto wala kami sang suga kag wala nagaabot ang programa sa gobyerno. Nalipay gid ako being a leader pakadto sa akon mga miyembro sa Sitio Blit bangud kay nakaabot man ang programa sa gobyerno pakadto sa amon sa Sitio Blit," Dolec said.
(We are overjoyed because for so long we did not have electricity and government services was lacking. I, as a leader, and all of my members, are grateful because government programs have reached us in Sitio Blit.)
The road connecting Blit to Maitum-Lake Sebu Road has also been improved. Once only accessible on foot or on horseback, the road to Blit is now passable by motorcycle and four-wheel drive vehicles.
Barangay Ned, including Sitio Blit, is one one of the barangays in SOCCSKSARGEN Region where national government agencies and local government agencies converge to deliver services as part of the national government initiative to reach the most remote villages in an effort to end local communist armed conflict pursuant to Executive Order No. 70.
Blit is also one of the pilot sites of the IPEACE (Indigenous Peoples Empowered as Agripreneurs Towads Collective End), a flagship project of the Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (JRTF-ELCAC) XII.
IPEACE aims to promote agricultural productivity in IP communities through collaborative efforts of national government agencies, local government units, and other partners. (DED/PIA-XII)