TALAINGOD, Davao Del Norte (DSWD XI) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through KALAHI-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, has started validation of sites eyed for the construction of 169 classrooms for indigenous peoples in Davao Region.

Dubbed as Whole of Nation Initiative (WNI) Classroom for Indigenous Peoples (IP), the project is a partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

The validation covers Davao City and the region’s five provinces -Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental and Davao Oriental.

DSWD XI Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat said this initiative aims at expanding access to culture-based basic education services for Indigenous Peoples in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA).

“This is the phase where IP villagers, the primary implementers, will take part in choosing the name, design, type, and other aspects in classroom construction,” Director Jabagat said.

Moreover, the site validation will help implementers prepare plans, conduct consultations, and determine cost of classrooms and ensure that the proposed school buildings are located in strategic areas.

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Deputy National Program Manager Cicero Juan Aguilar Jr emphasized that the WNI classroom sub-project will not only provide better quality of service delivery to school children and communities, but will also add value in preserving the culture and celebrating the identity and aspirations of the indigenous peoples.

“The location of the classroom should be acceptable to the community. It is important to talk to the IP leaders and communities on the design, location, and the materials to be used for the classroom.”

The sub-project will be implemented through Kalahi-CIDSS which continues to empower communities through enhanced participation in local governance and poverty alleviation projects.

“The experience of Kalahi-CIDSS process has been proven efficient, especially in securing participation of IPs in local governance, and it will lessen the cost because of the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach of the program,” Aguilar added.

The classrooms will be built with an indicative amount of P 895,000.00 each.

Since 2003, Kalahi-CIDSS has completed 94 community school buildings in Region XI with a fund exposure of P 102,349,623.70 million. (DSWD)