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The ML Diaries

Considering the numerous task a Municipal Link is expected to accomplish, it may in a way be difficult to find time to think and reflect on the activities he/she had done at the end of the day. Most often than enough, he/she would face and focus on another task after finishing one.

However, this time, I reflected much and would like to share this experience I had during one of my home visit in the area. This experience might only be simple for some, but may also be a “wow” to others. But for me, it is definitely a “wow”!

I am a nurse by profession. During my college years, I am also well exposed to community duty so I am not new to the home visit and spot check activity. However, what make this experience one of a kind for me is because it is one of the most extreme of its kind. I cannot imagine myself walking and climbing up mountains, hiking for almost four hours in a “tree-less” mountain, under the burning heat of the sun. I termed this travel: “Way to heaven”. Why do I say so? Because as if I have reached the sky since the place is the highest peak in the barangay and one of the highest peak in the municipality. It is Sitio Pamungyen.

I have never gotten into this kind of place- only through my readings. The average hiking hours is 3 and ½ and due to the steep slope, there is no available means of transportation by land. I have found out that there are 45 households living in the place – majority is full blooded Ifugao- lives in the place. However, there were only 18 households registered in the Pantawid Program. The Sitio is located in Barangay Campamento, Diffun, Quirino.

I have observed the living condition, economic situation and health practices of the people. All of them get their supply of drinking water in the spring which they call “ubbug’. They also do “nganga” and an open pit serves as their toilet facility. They have rich supply of grains, root crops, vegetables and citrus fruits.

I felt the difficulty of people living in the place. The health facilities are very far from them and for them to avail services such as vaccine and check up; they still need to go down in the mainland. The only school in the area provides education only from day care to Grade 4. This means that children would be required to stay in a boarding house in the mainland should they want to continue their studies. There is absence of electricity in the area. I cannot imagine myself living in such place. I even thought of going back since as if the way going to the place is endless. However, the feeling of tiredness was erased when I saw and felt the happy faces and words of gratitude of the people. They were very grateful and appreciative because the government remembers them, finds time, and gives effort to visit them.

As a social case worker, I felt how lucky I am and yet too materialistic and sometimes even unsatisfied of my life. I believe this may also be applicable to others, especially those who live in the urbanized areas? Hence, with this observed situation, I would like to give them priority when they attend meetings, check up or pay out since they still have go down from the mountain at dawn and should be back before dusk since it is dangerous.

Moreover, this experience helped me to appreciate more my role as a municipal link and a case manager. What I have learned from this encounter made an impact for me to perform better in the field. I may not be able to determine how far will I go with regards the work and position I have now, but definitely, I will be, at my very best, to be an advocate for the unheard voices.

By ARVIN LONGCOP, Municipal Link, Diffun, Quirino

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