MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- The Luyungan Indigenous Peoples High School (LIPHS) will launch on February 26 its "Luyungan Food Sufficiency Project" at Sitio Nasuli, Bangcud, Malaybalay City.
The program calls for the planting of two (2) hectares Abaca; two (2) hectares Adlai; and one (1) hectare Dragon Fruit within the school compound.
School head Edsel James Quemado said the LIPHS was established on June 01, 2016 to cater to the educational needs of the children of Bukidnon's seven tribes namely Higaonon, Talaandig, Bukidnon, Umayamnon, Matigsalog, Tigwahanon, and Manobo.
It was established solely for the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Bukidnon aimed at preserving their culture and tradition and to foster unity and camaraderie.
"Significantly, this is the only school of its kind in the Philippines and the entire Southeast Asian region. Sad to say, the parents cannot sustain the food requirements of their children. In most cases, the students would attend classes with an empty stomach," Quemado said.
At present, 187 students are all living inside the school campus. They could not easily go home to their respective tribal villages on weekends due to the extreme distance between home and school, and the high transport cost.
To help the students with these drawbacks, the school is currently soliciting assorted food items from government agencies, non-government organizations, and concerned individuals to sustain the food requirements of students.
"This practice, however, is not good in the end because 'we are just giving them fish'. The better thing to do is to 'teach them how to fish'. Hence, the need to launch the Luyungan Food Sufficiency Project," Quemado added.
He said the School will provide the land and manpower; Unifruitti Tropical Philippines Inc. (UTPI), Hineleban Foundation Inc (HFI), and Kalugmanan Agri-Development Corp. (KADC) will provide materials and technical assistance-from planting to marketing.
Ulticon Builders Inc. (UBI) will also help in the establishment of the school's water system and food for work items; while the 403rd Infantry Brigade (403rd Bde) and 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) will provide the necessary equipment for land preparation, vehicles to be used in transporting organic fertilizer, technical, and manpower assistance.
The project is a joint effort of LIPHS, UTPI, HFI, KADC, UBI, 403rd Bde, 8IB, and many other benefactors.
"By the grace of God, it is expected that after two years from the launching of this project, the School can generate substantial income of P.5 million per year from its Abaca, Dragon Fruit, and Adlai farmstead that can sustain the food requirements of all the teachers and students of Luyungan IP High School," Quemado said. (EJRQ, LIPHS/PIA Bukidnon)