Mountain Province town to rely on traditional support systems during Luzon lockdown

Artemio Dumlao - Philstar.com
Mountain Province town to rely on traditional support systems during Luzon lockdown
In this March 31, 2020 photo, Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan gives a radio interview for updates on the enhanced community quarantine in the municipality.
Sadanga LGU

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Sadanga town in the Mountain Province will rely on traditional support systems for now, although it will seek help from the provincial government if necessary.

Mayor Gabino Ganggangan instructed the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) to relay to the Provincial Disaster, Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province, of his decision.

"It's not that we don't have poor and needy families but I believe that we as tribal communities still have and should sustain our "built in" and homegrown or indigenous social structure, values, and practice of taking care of our respective relatives or kins, neighbors ,or "kailyan" (townmates) in distress during hard times or economic crisis," he said.

Ganggangan claims that during times of economic difficulties such as food shortages, hunger and famine, the "Kadangyans"—the richer or better off among clans and villages of tribal communities like Sadanga—are expected to aid their needy relatives by lending their surplus.   

He also said that should the ongoing crisis extend longer to the extent that the needy families of the Sadanga tribe really run out of their rice supplies, he shall mandate the "kadangyans" of every barangay to open up their "agamangs" (rice granaries) to sustain the community through to the next harvest season.

He assured his constituents that no family shall go hungry in Sadanga even during these hard times.

"Let the national government feed those more needy urban poor and those less fortunate in other areas who can't sustain themselves, while we sustain ourselves while we can," Ganggangan said.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), an indigenous people's organization, commended Ganggangan for instilling in the minds of the people of Sadanga the importance of such values and indigenous socio-political systems at this time of COVID-19 crisis, but said "to refuse relief packs from the government even if the crisis lasts longer means that Mayor Ganggangan is also denying the poor members of the Sadanga communities of immediate relief." 

"Relief food packs not only contain rice and vegetables but also groceries," Wyndle Bolinget, CPA chairman said.

He added that "with the changing times, these practices, values and other indigenous socio-political systems continue to exist in different communities but in varying degrees."

Bolinget also asked: "[A]re the Sadanga people really not in need of relief?" 

Sadanga is a 5th class municipality with around 8,799 residents.

"[T]he people deserve economic relief from the government during this time of crisis and it is not right to deny them of this. Relief includes medical needs like medicines and vitamins," he aded.

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