Ateneo presents bancas to Simariki families; establishes partnership with IDPs
Bancas, built by members of the Sama-Bangingi community in Simariki Island, were formallypresented to the sea-faring boat-makers themselves during turnover ceremonies of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University -Center for Community Extension Services’s (CCES) livelihood project last January 22, 2016 in Simariki Island, barangay Talon-talon.
The turnover rites formed part of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between the Ateneo in partnership with Simariki Island Sama-Bangingi Association (SISBA) and Barangay Talon-talon,for the implementation of AdZU’s Recovery Assistance for Internally Displaced Indigenous Peoples (RAIDIPs) project under the university’s Recovery and Assistance Program (AdZU-RAP).
“RAIDIPs is the university’s response to the City government’s call for assistance in the rehabilitation and recovery program for Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) of the 2013 seige,” AdZU president Fr Karel S San Juan, SJ said. “Their (Sama-Bangingi) houses were burned during the Zamboanga Siege and they were displaced in several evacuation centers; now, the community is rebuilding itself,” he added.
With the building of the bancas, made possible with assistance from the Jesuit Mission Germany, the Ateneo is providing a culturally-sensitive income-generating project that will foster economic security and empower IDPs to become socially responsible members of society.“The banca is a very valuable property that is a great source of income for the Simariki community, with the majority of its members being fisher folks,” said Loreta Sta Teresa, director of CCES.
Under the agreement, Sta Teresa explained, each banca is entrusted to 2-3 members of the Sama-Bangingi community. Each member is tasked to help secure abanca for the 1-2 other members, until all the members of the original 29 bancas will each own a banca. She emphasized that, “This way, they are made responsible for each member of their community, and thus, are helping one another in re-building their community and their lives.”
In his message to the Simariki community, Fr San Juan said that project marks the start of a partnership and friendship between the Ateneo and Simariki community. “Sana ang selebrasyong ito ay simulana ng ating pagkakaibigan. Kayo’y nagpapasalamat saamin pero gusto din naming magpasalamat sainyo dahilsa partnership. Hindi lang kame ang tumutulong, tinutulungan din ninyo ang Ateneo. Yan ang pagkakaibigan na gusto naming itaguyod,” he said.
Sama Bangi-ngi Tribal Chieftain Hadji Nasir Ismula, president of SISBA, in his response, expressed his gratitude to the Ateneo and said that he hoped that the university will continue to assist the community in improving the quality of life of the families residing in the island. Aside from the livelihood program, AdZU, in partnership with the community, also assists the residents in the island in their health and education needs.
Also present during the signing and turnover ceremonies were Chief Rolando Potenciano of the City Agriculturist Office, Engr George Jocutan and Richard Pamaranof the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)–Zamboanga City, Hadji Amilpasa Bandaying of the Zamboanga City Indigenous Peoples Council of Leaders (ZCIPCL), and Hadji Imin Ismael representing Teodyver Arquiza, chair of Barangay Talon-Talon.