The municipality of Rizal has put up two “IP villages” for tribal communities in Barangay Bunog and Barangay Taburi to house them on a voluntary basis as a way to facilitate giving them basic health care, including addressing the incidence of malaria.
A 55-hectare area was recently completed in Bunog to host at least 100 households while another area is being developed for the same purpose in Taburi.
The project is an undertaking of the municipality along with the provincial government, the Department of Health (DOH), the Center for Health Development IV-B of the DILG, and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI).
Municipal municipal health officer Kathreen Luz Micu explained that the project is intended to address health concerns among indigenous communities, mainly the Palaw’ans.
“Sa health concern, mas maganda ito na hindi tayo mahihirapan na ihatid sa kanila, mas makaka-focus tayo at malaking tulong itong IP Village na itinayo at titirahan ng mga katutubo na nangangailang ng serbisyo natin,” Dr. Micu said.
She said there are already 69 houses built in the IP village in Bunog while its “health station” is currently under construction.
Councilor Grazil Macasaet-Zapanta told Palawan News the settlement is voluntary on the part of the IP communities and availing it has no effect on their existing ancestral claims.
“Nandoon pa rin sila sa mga lupain nilang iniwan o pinagalisan. May mga pananim pa rin sila doon, bumabalik pa rin sila sa kanilang lupa. Ang nagkaiba lang ngayon ay nakatira na sila sa IP village natin at ang lahat naman ay bumbalik pa rin sa kanilang dating pinagtirhan dahil sa kanila yon at may mga tanim sila doon,” Zapanta said.