Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement
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Self-help virtue sustains tribal village in crisis

Sadanga, Mountain Province —The Sinadangas of Sadanga town north of Manila are showing their countrymen the time-tested virtue of self-help in these unprecedented difficult times imposed by the pandemic coronavirus.

HELPING THEMSELVES. Sadanga, a municipality in Mt. Province, boasts of a tribal group steeped in the Cordillera tradition  that invokes their age-old wisdom of self-help in dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic. Dave Leprozo
The Sinadangas are part of the Bontocs, the erstwhile animists who have strong convictions about their mountain culture that has been legend for thousands of years in the Cordillera region between the Ilocos and the Cagayan Valley.

The town’s Upper Social Class, a euphemism for the rich sector, under the age-old culture takes care of their fellow tribesmen in the lower rung of the economy of this 5th class town, 410 kilometers north of Manila via Baguio City and La Trinidad in Benguet and Bontoc in the Mountain Province.

On Tuesday, the Municipality’s Social Welfare and Development Office told the Manila Standard that some relief food packs sent by the regional office were now available at the PDRRM office for requesting Local Government Units.

But Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan, in a statement released to media here, said he had instructed the town’s MSWDO “to relay our message that our municipality will not be availing (itself) of these food packs even if the lockdown will be extended.”

Ganggangan added: “It’s not that we don't have poor and needy families but i believe that we as tribal communities still have and should sustain our ‘built-in’ and home-grown or indigenous social structure, values, and practice of taking care of our respective relatives or kins (sic), neighbors or kailyan in distress during hard times or economic crisis.”

He was referring to the centuries-old self-help virtue which is a grain in the culture of the Bontoc people, those living in the Cordillera provinces of Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Apayao, Kalinga and Abra.

Ganggangan said: “It is during these kinds of economic hardships such as ‘food shortages,’, hunger and famine that the ‘richer or better off’ (kadangyans) among a clan or village are expected to aid their needy relatives by lending their surpluses.

“Should this crisis extend longer to the extent that our needy families really run out of their rice supplies, we shall mandate the kadangyans of every barangay to open up their rice granaries (agamang or sarusa) to sustain us through to the next harvest season.”

He assured the people of Sadanga that no family would go hungry even in the lockdown period, which ends – unless extended by the national government – on April 14.

Ganggangan said: “Let the National Government feed those more needy urban poor in the cities and those less fortunate in other areas who can't sustain themselves, while we sustain ourselves while we can.”

At the same time, Ganggangan urged his townmates to cooperate with the rules and protocols being implemented by the government during the Enhanced Community Quarantine and “shield our municipality from this COVID-19.”

Topics: Sinadanga , COVID-19 , Gabino Ganggangan , Enhanced Community Quarantine
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