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PIA Press Release
2005/01/18

BEAM opens new tribal learning center

Davao City (18 January) -- The Basic Education Access for Mindanao (BEAM) program, which is funded by Australia, has opened a fourth Tribal Learning Center in Sitio Project, Cabasagan, Matanao town, Davao del Sur.

Gracing Friday’s inauguration were Australian Project Manager (APM) Dr. Ian D’Arcy Walsh; Philippine Project Manager (PPM) and Assistant Regional Director Susana Teresita Estigoy of the Department of Education (DepEd), and Schools Division Superintendent for Davao del Sur Dr. Angelina Giducos. They were joined by Rufina Villacorte, BEAM Access program coordinator for Region XI; Ramon Bobier, Australian coordinator for Cotabato project management unit; representatives from the barangay council of Matanao; Cor Jesu College community; and Barangay captain Vicente Tampipi.

Dr. Walsh said he was pleased with the Philippine government’s cooperation with Australia in providing basic education to Mindanao’s remote tribal communities. He asked town officials for their continued support.

Dr. Giducos hoped BEAM would lead the B’laan tribal folks to a better future.

She promised to provide another school teacher from DepEd if all 25 children, who are the first batch for the pre-school program, graduate this May.

The tribal center currently employs Alan Sablan, also a B’laan, as their school teacher. Sablan was trained by DepEd in Davao City after which he was assigned to the tribal center.

Aside from being a schoolhouse for the B’laan community, the center will also provide education for out-of-school youths in its Functional Literacy Program, and its livelihood enterprise development for the adults.

Cesar Epa, B’laan tribal chieftain, said he was very happy with the tribal center, built by his people with their own hands. He asked them not to interfere with the learning process between the teacher and their children because it is for their future. He encouraged them to support BEAM so that they too can improve the quality of their lives. (Norbert Elbanbuena) [top]

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