Unity among the indigenous Eskaya tribe of Bohol has been the secret all along for becoming a model community.
In a statement from the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Thursday, the Eskayas were cited for their united front in implementing key government projects that benefit their tribe.
“Dako among kalipay tungod kay nagkahiusa ang mga barangay officials, tribal officials ug ang tibuok community aron mas hapsay ug malampuson ang pag-implement sa mga projects (We are very happy because the barangay officials, tribal officials and the entire community are united in order to make an organized and successful project implementation),” said Cirilo Taer, a barangay kagawad and a member of Eskaya tribe.
Taer said the tribe members were unskilled in doing several things such as procurement, infrastructure and finances let alone managing the sub-project.
As a result, the Eskayas had experienced difficulty in carrying out the farm-to-market road sub-project during the cycle 1 implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS.
With Kalahi-CIDSS, he and fellow tribe members were trained and equipped them with knowledge and skills to address the gaps.
“Karun naa nami sa cycle 3 ug kini dili magmalampuson kung wala ang pagtinabangay sa tibuok komunidad labi na ang mga community volunteers.Ug kini nga proyektonakatabang na mas mapadali ang pag-transport sa among mga ani ug produkto gikan sa bukid paingon sa lungsod (We are already in cycle 3 and this couldnot be possible without the cooperation of the whole community especially among the community volunteers. This sub-project has been useful in transporting our freshly harvested produce and other products from the mountain to the town proper),” Taer added.
The Eskayas are known to give much value to education. The tribe tries to preserver their unique language and culture to the younger generation. The Eskayas go to school through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) every Saturday.
“Akong mga anak sukad pag-klase wala gyud sipyat pagtungha kay gitan-aw man nako ang ila man kaugmaon (Since the start of the school year, my children have not skipped classes because I am concerned of their future),” Taer said.
About 144 Eskaya children are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program are in school, said the statement from the DSWD.
Cirilo underscored that even though their community is a recipient of many government programs and services, solidarity among the tribesmen is a vital key in realizing their dreams and aspirations.
In fact, the community has a high compliance rate with the program conditionality due to the determination and perseverance of the partner-beneficiaries, and accessibility to an educational institution and a health facility.
Aside from the Eskaya Learning Center, barangay Lundag has its own day care center, public elementary school and a health center.
“Kaniadto daghang discrimination among madawat kay tungod daghan daw namu mga illiterate ug ang among kan-on ra daw kay puros lang lagut-mon (Before, people discriminated us because we were illiterate and because we only eat green-leafy vegetables),” Cirilo recalled.
But now, according to Cirilo, many already claimed to be part of Eskaya tribe even though they are not directly descendants of the tribe.
“Ang kultura kay taytayan sa mga grasya gikan sa gobyerno (Culture is the bridge that brought the services from the government to our barangay),”said Cirilo matter-of-factly tone.
But Cirilo underscored that even though their community is a recipient of many government programs and services, solidarity among the tribesmen is a vital key in realizing their dreams and aspirations.