A Blessing of Light Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
April 17, 2020 | Feature Story by MCMN
Renande Lusanda, a tribe’s chieftain, enthusiastically expressed, “PCMN is a blessing to us for bringing lights to our village, making our community safer to live”.
Solar-powered lighting is designed to make safer communities in earthquake ravaged camps. In Malawanit, a relocation site for displaced people, 132 families grope in the dark for lack of electricity. The government has planned for installation of electricity in the site but is being delayed.
The Mindanao Earthquake Project by the PCMN in partnership with Mindanao Children’s Ministries Network is located in the municipalities of Magsaysay and Makilala evacuation camps and relocation sites. At the beginning of the lockdown in Region 11, solar lighting system was installed in each of the 10 evacuation camps. Solar lighting is critical in public spaces such as dark walkways, alleys to public toilets, etc. providing safety and protection for women and children during night hours when they go to publicly shared bathrooms, located outside of their tents. Barangay Tanods (village night watchmen) were provided each a torch, locally known as solar flashlights, to support their duties which include keeping the children and women safe at night, accompanying them back and forth safely to their tents. This is on top of PCMN’s efforts to make the local child protection committee in every camp functional with participation from citizenry trained in child protection.
Barangay Malawanit of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, experienced the first wave of earthquake last October 16, 2019. It affected the lives of 132 families living in the mountainous part of the barangay. They hail from the B’laan tribe and are now living in a permanent relocation site the Local Government Units (LGUs) provided through a cooperation of private and public funding. The Municipal Mayor has chosen this site as it is far away from the threat of landslide. There will be more relocation sites that will be built in the future in Magsaysay as people can’t go back to their barangays declared as no build zone.
 Article contributed by Mindanao Children’s Ministries Network