Philippines: Rice For Lumads From Davao Light
Lumads or indigenous people in Toril, Marilog and Paquibato districts in Davao City, will again be recipients of rice donations from the Aboitiz-owned electric distribution utility through the initiative of the Philippine Army's Task Force Davao under its commanding officer Col. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, PA. Dubbed as "Pinaskuhan Para sa Lumad" during the last seven years of its inception, the rice donation project has been made possible with support from the local government of Davao, the corporate sector, as well as some generous private individuals. One of, if not the biggest company supporters of the project is Aboitiz-owned Davao Light & Power Co., the electricity distributor in Davao City.
Davao Light has donated an average of 55 sacks per year since the start of the Pinaskuhan sa Lumad project in 2004, bringing the total rice donation to 385 sacks this year. Task Force Davao then was under Col. Eduardo del Rosario. This year's rice donation was turned over last November 30 at the new TF-Davao headquarters inside the Sta. Ana wharf compound. Maj. Roberto F. Rivas, Task Force Executive Officer who received the rice in behalf of Col. Guerrero, said the support from Davao Light has given the "Pinaskuhan Para sa Lumad" project a big boost. The TF Davao officer added the bigger the volume of rice given to the project allows Task Force Davao to increase the number of indigenous people beneficiaries of the food assistance.
Rivas said the "Pinaskuhan" Project is actually "bringing the Christmas gift and the giver to where the lumad beneficiaries are – the upland communities". This way, he added, "a good number of our lumad brothers need not anymore be bothered going down to the lowlands and brave the strangeness of the city's downtown just to have a share of the Christmas blessings". Rivas added that it is also the military's way of making the people in the hinterlands feel that the men in uniform are not what the lawless elements in the area are portraying them to be – the enemies of the lumads. Davao Light Corporate Community Relations Manager Vic Sumalinog who turned over the rice donation, said the management of the electric utility has been supporting the "Pinaskuhan sa Lumad" Project from the very start. He added that with this kind of project the military is able to show that they are not around only for war but also to serve the people especially those in the uplands who are, admittedly, the most deprived of government's social s delivery of social services. In behalf of the Davao Light management Sumalinog also thanked Task Force Davao for the opportunity given to the Aboitiz-owned electric utility as partner in the laudable military project.