TALAINGOD, Davao del Norte – The Davao Region Banana Industry Tripartite Council (BITC) recently served as “Angels” to 200 students in Basak Elementary School by giving away P78,000 worth of school supplies last June 21, 2016.

The activity is under BITC’s child welfare advocacy which was made possible through the assistance of Department of Labor and Employment XI-Davao del Norte Field Office (DOLE-DNFO), Dana Foundation and the School’s Teachers.

BITC has chosen Basak Elementary School as their beneficiary for the funds that have been gathered during the BITC’s Sagip Batang Manggagawa Fun Run last February 14, 2016.

In line with the opening of classes, the activity also falls under DOLE’s Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program which aims to encourage children at risk to become child laborers from identified barangays to continue their education through sponsors who are committed and supportive in providing social services.

Betty Francia of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association said that the school supply turn-over is a fulfillment of their promise to the students of Basak Elementary School of going back and providing further assistance.

The group has previously provided assistance for the construction of the school’s building.

“Halos ako makahilak kay karon pako nakakita ug ingon ani, naa gyud diay mga tao nga mutabang sa amoa bisag layo mi. Salamat sa tanan (I am almost in tears because this is the only time that I have witnessed this, that there are still people willing to help us even through the distance. Thank you all.),” Basak Tribal Chieftain Datu Cario Mangguyod said in response to the activity.

Sitio Basak is situated about two hours away from Barangay Sto Nino proper, most of the population in the area are composed of Ata Manobos.

During the program, DOLE XI anti-child labor focal Melanie R. Jadulang also gave a short talk on the said cause.

The event was also graced by DOLE XI OIC-Assistant Regional Director Jason P. Balais, DOLE- DNFO Head Erlinda G. Mamitag, DOLE-XI Compostela Valley Field Office Head Albert Degamo and Barangay Sto. Nino Captain Leon L. Amosora, and Talaingod Vice Mayor Elect Michael Manos. Before the distribution of the school supplies, DOLE XI anti-child labor focal Melanie R. Jadulang also gave a short talk on the said cause.

Students from Kinder to Grade 6 got bags of school supplies, snacks and bags of bananas to take home during the morning activity.

Moreover, DOLE XI also gave some teaching supplies to Basak Elementary School teachers.

Kriztja Marae G. Labrador/LCO-DOLEXI